Rutgers Oral History Archives

The # 15 Oral History Website in the World

Home Interviewees Interview HTML Text McCartney, Joseph B.

McCartney, Joseph B.

Kurt Piehler:  This begins an interview with Joseph McCartney on July 7, 1994 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey with Kurt Piehler.  I would like to begin by talking a little bit about your parents.  I guess I would first like to ask about your father.  Your father was of Irish descent, and I guess the first question I have is how did he feel about the First World War?

Joseph McCartney:  Well, he was too young to go into the war.  Let's see ... he was about seventeen at the time.

JM:  He was too young for the war.  And I don't know what more you want me to say.

KP:  Yes, a lot of Irish were not very sympathetic to the cause of Britain in World War I.  In fact, in terms of opposition to entering the war, the Irish along with German Americans, were the least enthusiastic, if not outright opponents to the war.  Did he ever talk about Ireland?

JM:  No, I think probably that feeling would have existed more so with his own mother and father.  Since he was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, he didn't--at least I never heard of him expressing any kind of animosity or any ill feeling toward England, or the fact that the United States was going into the war.

KP:  He never?

JM:  No.

KP:  Did your father regret missing the war, or did he ever express any attitudes about the war?

JM:  No.  He was sort of noncommittal.  He wasn't too strong either way, as far as I can recall.

KP:  It was not a big item of conversation?

JM:  No, no.

KP:  Now your mother was born in Alsace and came to the United States.  Why did she come to the United States?  What did she tell you?

JM:  Well, I imagine at that time there was a great influx of people from Western Europe.  Her father died when she was young.  He was 39, and the mother had an aunt over here who probably was a great influence on talking my grandmother into coming over here.  She had two boys and a girl, my mother being the girl, and there were opportunities here.  These folks were very good digitally, with their fingers, crafts and [the] like.  And, of course, as soon as she came to this country, she immediately got into the silk mill, as they called it in those days.  And the mother had a means of utilizing her three children to give her enough monetary support to make out, initially, coming into a new country.

KP:  So your mother's entire family worked and they all worked in the mill.  Which mill?  Do you know where they worked?

JM:  Well, this mill happened to be in Plainfield, New Jersey, on Washington Avenue.  It's long gone.  The building is still there.  That particular industry is passe.

KP:  Did your mother identify more with France or with Germany, or with Alsace?

JM:  ... It was like a football game.  They got kicked back and forth through her life.  At one time, they were under control of France.  Then, I guess it was Bismarck, or one of those generals came in and took it over.  Next it wound up with her being under the German rule for the longest period of time.  And as a result, she forgot her French and she learned German.  And she became quite proficient in the German language.  These people were, not exactly peasants, but they were agrarian and their education was very limited.  I think that when she came to this country she was only about fourteen. She went to night school and learned enough to get along, but never had any kind of an extended education.

KP:  In terms of English?

JM:  Yes, in terms of English.  Right.

KP:  Did she speak German?

JM:  Yes, yes, she did.  She spoke, of course with her mother, and other folks who came from over there.  But, she gradually got drawn away.  The Irish influence sort of overtook her and she got to know many more Irish people than German.  It's a funny thing that on one occasion ... she was attending an Irish affair and she didn't realize the significance of color as far as North and South Ireland is concerned.  And she put on an outfit that was of orange color, and she almost got killed.  And, of course, just having been in the country maybe a year, she couldn't understand the great furor that arose.  And somebody explained to her, "You should put green on, not orange." There was a great deal of animosity at that time between Northern and Southern Ireland with the green and the orange.  The Catholic's color was green and the orange exemplified the Protestants.

KP:  What time period was this?

JM:  This was either in 1919 or 1920-- a short time after I was born.

KP:  How did your mother feel about the First World War?  Did she express any sympathy in particular?

JM:  Well, she never expressed too much.  I guess she had her fill a waring atmosphere, because her family had to house the German soldiers in their house.  Every family had to take so many German soldiers, because they were on maneuvers in her area.  And she'd come to see so many soldiers in her time that she became a little indifferent to them.  Having come to a new country, she really couldn't get into the full swing of the United States fighting a war.  So she was sort of in between feeling one way or the other.

KP:  Did your mother ever go back to Europe?

JM:  Yes.  She went back when she was 75.  She went back with my daughter, who was about fifteen at the time, to visit her old village.  And, she said, that it hadn't changed greatly.  Unfortunately, they still had outhouses, and they had poor screening as far as insects and mosquitoes and things like that were concerned.  And the only real thing was that she got to see all her cousins, and she really enjoyed the visit very much.  She was gone for about three weeks.  My daughter was sort of startled.  She couldn't get over the fact that they drank so much wine over there.  [laughs]  Being fifteen, she didn't think that this custom was quite right.  But, my mother tried to explain to her: "Look, that's the way of life here.  If they didn't have wine at a meal, something would be very wrong."  And their wine was great.

KP:  How did the Great Depression affect your family?

JM:  Well, it was very, very difficult.  My father being a printer, there were stretches when I can recall him sitting on the front porch and not having any work to do.  Sometimes as long as two months.  Throughout that period, he had many customers, who were unable to pay their debts.  I recall, when I was about ten or eleven, he had spent the day out to collect on jobs that he had done and finally, in the late afternoon, he visited a doctor, Dr. Peters, who paid a bill of 27 dollars.  And he went out and he just blew the whole payment and came in with five or six bags of food.  This was around Thanksgiving.  He had a turkey and all kinds of vegetables and fruit and God knows what.  He just went berserk.  And I can still picture the two of them at the door embracing each other and crying.  To him it was a bonanza.  It's like he won the lotto.  Through that period of time, we had tried to buy our home but all he could pay was ten dollars interest per month.  Just the interest, and ten dollars was about the going rate at that time, which sounds almost unbelievable today.  But never putting anything on the principal, not being able to do it.  Basically, the way we got through the Depression was that he was fortunate enough to do printing for a butcher, and a small grocery shop owner.  And that's the way we lived.  Instead of taking money, he took food.  And, for maybe a stretch of, at least one and a half years, that's the way we existed.  And it just was an awful experience.

KP:  So he was in business for himself.

JM:  Yes, he was a sole proprietor printer.  And actually, he had his printing business in the basement of the house.

KP:  And this was in Plainfield.

JM:  This was in Plainfield.

KP:  You went through, like my step-father, all through parochial school.

JM:  Yes, I did.

KP:  And how were you in a sense able to afford that?

JM:  Well in those days you didn't have to pay.  Now you do.  The parish pastor paid from the collections that he took up.  But in recent years, of course, it's gotten to be an impossibility to work it that way, so folks are taxed quite heavily now to pay tuition.  I really don't know the exact costs, but it's a far cry from what it was.

KP:  Why did you attend parochial schools as opposed to public schools?

JM:  Well my mother was a very religious individual.  She was almost a saint.  And to her, coming from Alsace, which is a very religious country, it was just the thing to do.  Plus the fact that we weren't too far away from the school and the church.  So the schooling had a big effect on me and my three sisters.

KP:  And so you all went through the Catholic school system.

JM:  We all went through Catholic schooling.  I have a sister who's a nun.  She's 65 years old, and she's been in the order since she was thirteen.  Another sister who's about 73, who attended St. Mary's School.  One more sister who lives in Tuckerton, New Jersey, attended both Catholic and public schools.  All of us went through parochial training.

KP:  How would you categorize your high school?  For example, how many went to college?

JM:  Well, I would say about 75 to 80 percent.  Even though people-- {that was back in '38} were starting to come out of the Depression and getting some financing were able to send kids to school.  But often times, most of the children who went to school had to work, either weekends, or part-time days.

KP:  I saw that reference in one of your alumni surveys.  You mentioned in the alumni newsletter that college for you, was always working and studying.

JM:  Yes, that's all I did, and thank God that I had the opportunity to work for the press, the little printing section of publications, when I was in school.  It was a Godsend.

KP:  Now you had also done this in high school, you had worked.

JM:  Yes, I worked in supermarkets on weekends.

KP:  How many hours?

JM:  I worked all day Saturday.  And then there were some odd jobs during the week but not consistently.

KP:  How much of your instruction was Latin in Holy Trinity?

JM:  Instruction?  Well I took four years of Latin.  The class lasted for 45 minutes.

KP:  Yeah, but it was just one class.

JM:  Yeah, one class.  And when I got to Rutgers, I also took a class in Latin and in Greek, but just one year.

KP:  What brought you to Union Junior College?  Had you thought of attending, say Seton Hall or St. Peter's?

JM:  Oh, yes, I wanted [so] much to go, really to Fordham.   But we couldn't afford it.  I received a general scholarship, which was a special grant from President Clothier in view of my financial situation, plus the fact that I was valedictorian in high school.  It was a small high school, so it was no great thing.  And then, in college, I was like maybe a close to a three average.  I made a visit over here to the dean of men and I said, "I have no money to go any further and I hate to drop it right now, after two years," and I said, "I'd appreciate it if you could give some consideration to my background, plus the fact," I said, "that I know of some people who are here on full state scholarships."  And I said, "I know they've done no better than I have.  It would be a different thing," I said, "if I couldn't validate this situation."  So I guess I sparked a little interest and they were taken aback.

KP:  Yes, you mentioned that Dean Metzger really was a bit surprised that you were being very blunt and to the point.

JM:  He was shocked.  But I couldn't help it.  It's the way I felt.  And I guess it made quite an impression because he went to the president.  It was President Clothier at that time.  In those days, the tuition was only about $400 a semester, so they gave me $200.  I made the other half up by working in the print shop and on Saturdays in a supermarket.

KP:  How many hours would you work in the print shop?

JM:  Every time I had a free period, I was either in the library or in the print shop.  Either place.  And getting in a car and scooting home about four o'clock in the afternoon.

KP:  And then on weekends you would work at the grocery store.

JM:  I did on Saturdays, yeah.  Then the rest of the time I spent studying.

KP:  Now you were a commuter, how did you find time for anything else?

JM:  I didn't have the time.  On Friday nights, there was a special place in North Plainfield, and they had young people attending.  It was a dancing school. I would go there every Friday night with two or three guys and dance for two, three, four hours, and then go home.  And in between, maybe look at a movie, but there wasn't any time actually to do much fooling around.

KP:  In terms of campus life, you mentioned you were a member of the Newman Club.

JM:  Yes.  I wasn't too active.  I wasn't too active in anything in college, unfortunately, because my time was spent working every chance I had.  I couldn't participate in some of the things I would've liked to, but it just was impossible.  Even mentally there wasn't an opportunity to sort of relax, and take it easy, and do things that I saw other young men being able to do, because they came from more affluent families.

KP:  What divisions did you see on the campus when you were a student?

JM:  What do you mean by divisions?

KP:  A lot of people have sort of said that the big difference is between the commuters and the people who live on campus.

JM:  Oh, definitely.

KP:  And people have mentioned the difference between those who had to work their way through and those who were supported by their parents.

JM:  Oh, very different.  I mean these fellows had better clothing, they had more free time, and they used it that way.  In fact, I used to think every now and then I felt sorry for some of the parents, because I saw some of these guys wasting their parents' money, and fooling around too much.  I had a job to do.  There was no thought of outside activities.  I just spent many hours either studying or working.  And then you had to study at home.  Some of these other fellows were innately intelligent, and they got along fine academically, but then there were others who sort of frittered their time away.

KP:  You had mentioned that Mr. Lambertson was your favorite professor.

JM:  Yes, he was.  He taught my major, which was accounting.  And he had a wonderful way about him.  He had a great personality, and he had the knack of getting things across in such a manner that it wasn't like driving it into your head.  He'd give illustrations and analogies, and examples, that made the class very interesting.  You wouldn't dope off and go to sleep etc., 
 because he managed to hold your attention very well.

KP:  In becoming a business/accounting major, had you gone in with the intention of becoming an accountant?

JM:  Yes, at the time I did.  In fact it's been an avocation all my life.  I've worked for H & R Block, the tax return people, and I had a couple of accounts I took care of for small businessmen.  And, of course, it came in great stead for me in my own business, because I took care of all the accounting, the IRS returns, and all the state returns, and so forth.  And my son more or less took care of the technical aspects of the printing business.  But I took care of all the requirements that had to do with reporting statistical reports etc.  So, it was a good background for my printing business.

KP:  In fact, I want to ask you about that because you actually ended up working for Rutgers for a time.

JM:  Yes, I was in the placement office for about four years.  ... I came out of the service in 1946, and I worked until '50, and then I got caught in the Korean police action.  And I served 23 months.  I came back to Rutgers again for a short period, and then went to Muhlenberg Hospital as personnel manager and public relations director.

KP:  But the original intention was to become an accountant.

JM:  Yes, but the fact that the director of personnel liked me, and as an undergraduate he saw much of me.  We got to be very friendly.  So, as soon as I got out of the navy, he came after me.

KP:  That was Mr. Lambertson.

JM:  No, that was Mr. Kirkwood.  He was the director of personnel and placement.  Mr. Lambertson was the teacher.  But Kirkwood observed me as a student.  He happened to have an office where he had to pass through where I worked.  So when I got out of the navy, he called me.  That's how I really got into personnel.  It was more placement work there.  But then I got into industry and was involved in employment and Industrial relations dealing with union negotiations.

KP:  Well, I was going to ask you that later, but I am always curious how people end up in certain positions.

JM:  I would say that Mr. Kirkwood was the one who switched me.

KP:  Do you know his first name?

JM:  Yes, John Kirkwood.  He was in the Class of '31 at Rutgers.

KP:  Oh, okay.

JM:  Yeah, he's still ticking.  He's still moving around.  He was a great tennis and lacrosse player.

KP:  Your parents were both Catholic, they were also both Democrats.  How did they feel about Franklin Roosevelt?

JM:  Oh, they thought he was the greatest.  And very frankly, I did too.  I started my life out as a Democrat.  Of course, I'm more of an Independent now, than anything.  But if I have any leaning, it might be more toward being Republican now, because I don't believe in all these welfare grants.

KP:  But at the time, your family very much a Democratic household.

JM:  Oh, and how!  My father might might have been called a ward healer, if you want to really get it right.  He used to take people in cars to vote, and he had me doing it too.  I was in that environment.  It was just sort of natural for me to support my father's party.

KP:  So your family was politically active, or at least your father was.

JM:  He was.  My mother really wasn't.

KP:  How did you and your parents view the approach of World War II?  Let's say in the late 1930's.

JM:  With great apprehension.  I know, my mother, it really got to her.  However, my parents were happy when they heard that I was able to be admitted into this naval program as a sailor.  I always felt that while I'm alive I'm going to have a sack and some food.  And if I get hit, I might find a piece of wood to hang onto. Whereas that idea of being a foot soldier, ugh!  I felt so sorry for those guys.  I mean, you think of the terrible, terrible existence that being in the army conjures up.

KP:  Why had you come to that conclusion?  Was it from you experiences at ROTC, or just from what you understood?

JM:  Well, I guess the ROTC had a little bearing on it, plus the fact that I just couldn't envision myself slugging it out in the mud and all the other perils, and wondering when I'm going to eat next, and how many bullets are going to be fired at me, and so forth.  I realized that if I got on a ship, I could get sunk.  But I was willing to take the chance for the pluses the navy would afford.  There was always a good chance of rescue.

KP:  How had you envisioned the Navy before you entering it?  I mean, you said, it probably is more comfortable, you thought.

JM:  Yes.

KP:  Was there any romance involved in terms of the navy?  The idea of being on a ship.

JM:  Yes, I always favored the navy from a kid on.  Whenever they had the Army-Navy game, I was always for the navy.  Everything was navy.  But, there wasn't too many things I had done in my life like sailing and that sort of thing that had any bearing on it.  Just a feeling, I guess.

KP:  Had you read novels on the navy, or histories of navy men?

JM:  No, no, I don't think that had anything to do with influencing my feelings.  A naval officer to me, was just someone who stood out.  And I really would have a better life, I felt. That probably had an influence on me.

KP:  That would probably be one of the central reasons.

JM:  Yes, right.  Plus the fact that you could see the world, so to speak.  ... I got around everywhere except Europe.  And yet today, you'd pay a fortune to sail and see what I've seen.

KP:  Before the war had broken out, how far had you traveled?

JM:  Not much at all.  From here to New York, I guess.

KP:  Had you been to the south?

KP:  No.  We didn't have the money, we couldn't do it.  That was a big deal, going to New York.

KP:  Even New York City was a big deal.

JM:  Oh, and New York City was wonderful in those days.  There's no comparison now to what it was.  It was a beautiful place.  The center of culture, beautiful shows, I mean everything about it was great you couldn't ask for more.  But now, I don't know.  Personally, I wouldn't want to get anywhere near New York.  In the first place, I'm older.  Maybe if you're a person who's 35, you wouldn't think the way I do.  But me, I'm hearing all these stories about people getting killed and everything else.  Ugh!

KP:  It sounds like your travelling was confined to New York and New Jersey.

JM:  That's it.  Until I went into the service, I went nowhere.  And, of course, since I got married, we've travelled a little.  My wife's been in remission for fourteen years from cancer of the lung, and now she's in a nursing home, where she had a stroke and she can't walk.  And so our life in the last three or four years has been almost nil.  It's an existence.  It's a sad situation.

KP:  Now you had joined the navy.  You actively sought out an enlistment in the navy.  Did you have trouble getting into the navy?

JM:  Well, they were very strict on physicals.  And I had a tinge of high blood pressure.  I think it was more worrying if I didn't get in.  What would happen to me?  I don't think I really had a bad case of high blood pressure, but they worked me over a couple of times before they accepted me.  They finally did.

KP:  When did you try to get into the Navy?  When did you try to enlist?  Right after Pearl Harbor?

JM:  No, I finished college.  Pearl Harbor was in my senior year, in December, and I came out in May from college, and then I went over immediately to the commandant of the Third Naval District in New York.  And after they accepted me, they said, "Alright, go home, and wait for orders."  So the orders came in August, and I went to Notre Dame for one month, and then from there to Northwestern.

KP:  Was it a thrill for you to go to Notre Dame?

JM:  Yes, it was. It was a great school.  Laid out very nicely. The campus is quite different, at least it was then. I don't know what it looks like now.

KP:  Given the reputation of the Fighting Irish you must have found that of interest.

JM:  Oh, yes. There's so much written about it, that it was quite a thrill to say you went there, even if only for a month.

KP:  And then you went to Northwestern.  And you mentioned to me earlier, before we started the interview, that you were a 90 day wonder.  Could you sort of recount the organization of your training and the strengths and the weaknesses.  The strengths and weaknesses, if you can remember, at the time you took to the training and then when you actually got out into the field.

JM:  Well, I think the training was just superb.  It was rough.  Get you up at 4:30 in the morning, and put you out in the hallway and make you do calisthenics in a hallway that wasn't even this wide.  About half of this width.  And they drilled you intensely.  And you'd be out there maybe 45 minutes doing this exercise.  And all of a sudden, Bang!  When they gave you the word, you had to run into your room and get your uniform of the day on.  And you had two or three different uniforms.  And they were great for making you switch from one to the other on the spur of the moment.  Everything was Bing, Bing!

KP:  What would you think of the switching of uniforms?

JM:  Well, to me, it was discipline.  It was a way to get us geared up and ready.  And they washed a lot out this way.

KP:  How many of your colleagues washed out?

JM:  I would say that ... this class that I was in, maybe 30 percent were washed out.  They couldn't take it.  Psychologically, some of them just couldn't take it.  And then, sometimes, when I got out to Northwestern, they put you out in the field and they would give you a shot in this arm, one here and two in the other and then have you run and do work on bars and a variety of moves for about two hours.  The reason was, they wanted the shots to spread through your system.  But at the time I wasn't thinking that way, and I said, "Oh, this is quite unusual."  But such a grueling program really made some of these guys think and say, "I don't want any part of this."

KP:  Now what would happen if you washed out of training?

JM:  Well, some of those fellows went into the army, or they got some kind of a deferment.  Some of them probably got psychological deferments.  I mean some of these guys really were mentally bothered.

KP:  Oh, really?  The training was that stressful?

JM:  Yes.  It was tough.

KP:  Did you ever think you wouldn't make it?

JM:  No. I wanted it so badly.  And having gone through parochial school, I learned the word discipline.  I knew what discipline was.  Not that they pounded me over the head every day, but everything was by the numbers.  You had that kind of a springboard to get into something like this.  So it was easier to accept.

KP:  What specialty and assignment did you hope to obtain after your training?

JM:  Well, actually, I wanted to get into what I did get in.  I was on small ships, sub chasers.  And it was interesting to me, because you wouldn't be out at sea constantly.  You would make a short, coastal convoy run, and then put in to port somewhere.  The convoy would be picked up by larger ships when it got to a certain point.  Also, we did rescue type of work.  It was a varied kind of an existence.  And that made it interesting, too.

KP:  So you did not envision being on a big battleship?

JM:  No, I didn't.  ... You'd get lost there.  And personally, I was born a rough and ready kind of a person.  I didn't go too much for that spit and polish, and "Yes, Sir," "No, Sir," you know.  I enjoyed this duty because it was rugged.  You wouldn't be able to tell me from an enlisted man, if you saw me at certain times.

KP:  Because Ray Taub mentioned how he served in the dungaree Navy.

JM:  Oh yeah.  That's what it was.  We were down and dirty. We had seamen next to us, working along with the officers.  You wouldn't be able to pick me out as an officer.  The way I was dressed, I looked just like they did.  And I liked that kind of a life.  And it was more communal. We worked very well together.  We had some wonderful kids on that ship.  At times, when they went out on liberty, they did some things they shouldn't have, but while they were on that ship, you could trust them.  I'll never forget, one time in the Caribbean, we were escorting a huge tanker, and we were in position about two thousand yards in front of it.  We had five tanks of gas.  These engines burned 91 octane gas.  There was no automatic cut-in from one tank to the other.  If one went dry, you had to cut another one in manually.  About two o'clock in the morning, on one of these runs, a tank ran dry.  There was an electrician's mate on watch and he goofed off.  The chief petty officer was in his sack, and he felt the ship stop.  He awakened and went down the ladder, he knew right away what to do, and opened another tank, and we were lucky.  We would've been smashed to smithereens, because this was a big ship.  It was so far out of the water, because it wasn't carrying fuel, so when they run empty, they're much higher riding in the water.  We had what is called a signal gun, and normally, we could use Morse code to attract them on the bridge.  But the ship was so far up in the air, you couldn't get the beam through.  He couldn't see us.  So, if it weren't for the alertness of this chief mechanic who knew what to do immediately, we would have collided.  We just got out of the way, and that tanker went swissh as it passed by.  It just missed us.  But if that chief hadn't acted quickly, we would've been creamed.

KP:  What happened to the electrician's mate who screwed up?  What kind of a punishment did he get?

JM:  Well, I'd have to say he was a wonderful person, and he was the kind of a guy who never did anything wrong.  So all you can do is just talk to him and say, "You know, that was terrible, what you did there, you could've had us all killed."  But if he was a screw-up, then you'd treat him a little differently.  You report the incident to a higher command, and maybe he'd be taken off the ship.  No telling what would've happened to him.  But he was a wonderful person.

KP:  So this was really out of the ordinary.  He had basically screwed up, but it was not an all the time thing?

JM:  Yes.  Oh, every time I thought of it I'd wake up at night.  It was scary!  You've read where our own people were killed by our own forces.  ... Like planes shooting planes down that are friendly. ...

KP:  Following up, what happened to you after you finished your training?  What was your first assignment?

JM:  You mean in civilian life?

KP:  No, in training.

JM:  Oh, after I finished at Northwestern,  I was sent to the anti-submarine warfare base in Miami, Florida, and I went through a quick course of seamanship, signaling, commissary, etc.  Everything that would cover the whole gamut of a little ship.  In other words, your table of organization is much different on a small ship than on a large one. ... When you go in as an officer on a small vessel, you have to perform many more duties.  Everything is specialized on the big ship.  On smaller ships, you can become the gunnery officer, the commissary officer, communications officer etc.  You carry out many different responsibilities, because there are only three officers aboard.  The skipper, is the one with the expertise and he has got the final say, but he doesn't take physical part in the operations.  The executive officer really runs the ship under the guidance of the C.O.

KP:  In your first assignment, what was your position?  Were you junior officer?

JM:  I was the junior officer. I was the low man on the totem pole.

KP:  But you were one of three officers, and that was the case with all your ships, you were always one of three?

JM:  No.  That was on a sub-chaser, which was a 110 foot ship.  Later on, I was assigned on a PC which is 173 feet.  It's similar to a baby destroyer.  We had a compliment of either five or six officers.  When I was ordered to the PC 802, I was second in command.  I became the executive officer.  I met the ship in Pearl Harbor.  When the war ended, my skipper had enough points to go home, so then I became the commanding officer.

KP:  Yeah, I saw the clipping.  You in fact became the commander of the vessel.

JM:  Yes.

KP:  You were on a sub-chaser, when were you placed on the vessel?

JM:  Well, I was assigned to the SC1472 in January of 1943 and I was on that ship through April '45.  I was transferred to San Francisco, where I served as a censoring officer of mail, and things like that.  And then I was sent to Pearl Harbor and assigned as executive officer of PC-802 on May 1, 1945.

KP:  You were in both theaters, the Atlantic and Pacific.

JM:  I was in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and in the Pacific.

KP:  How common was that in the navy?

JM:  ... I don't think the navy had any set plans.  You never knew where the hell you were going to wind up.  Some guys were assigned to the Atlantic fleet.  They were on escort duty primarily on DE's and they stayed there.  It's very difficult to figure out how the navy made these assignments.

KP:  You did not know.

JM:  Never knew anything, no, I never knew anything.  There may have been some guys who had friends down in the Bureau of Personnel who could wing them around, but I never knew where I was going to be.  I had an interesting assignment when I was in the Atlantic.  We were with what you call ASDEVLANT, (Anti- Submarine Development Warfare).  Dealing with sonar we studied the movement of torpedoes, how they are attracted to a target either by heat, or by noise.  And we had a big platform that was put on the stern of our ship when we were up in Newport. It had a big Davit there, a crane, and we would lift these missiles up, put them in the water, and start them off.  We also had planes in the air, blimps, too.  And they were trying to pick up this torpedo with sonar buoys.  Sonar buoys were dropped and they would send up a signal to the blimp, which would try [to] see it could locate the target, and drop a charge.  It was interesting duty, because we got involved with surface ships, with airplanes, and other submarines.

KP:  At the time, I imagine that your work was very classified.

JM:  Oh, and how, more so than I had ever realized.

KP:  When you were doing this, you were not as aware.

JM:  We weren't filled in completely on everything.  We just had certain functions we had to perform.

KP:  When did you sort of realize what exactly you were doing?  During training, or after the war, you sort of put it all together?

JM:  I would say at the time, being in anti-submarine warfare, we knew that everything we did had to be directed at trying to destroy a submarine.  And so, if it were to be effective using blimps, planes, or ourselves, we had to work as a team.  So I was aware at the time.

KP:  Was any of your work of use to the navy?  Did you have any input into the final conclusions or were you simply given tasks?

JM:  Yes, that's it.  We were given tasks.

KP:  And you don't really know what ever happened?

JM:  ... No, we never did find out ourselves, because we'd get transferred to another type of operations, so that we were more or less moving from one assignment to another and never staying really too long with anything while I was in the Atlantic area.

KP:  This was all while you were on the sub-chaser.

JM:  Yes.  That was on Sub-chaser 1472 while in the Carribbean and Atlantic.

KP:  I would like to ask you about the crew for Sub-chaser 1472.

JM:  There were 24 personnel aboard the SC 1472.  The SC 1473 was a sister ship.  She used to work with us.

KP:  Now, maybe I should ask that since you brought up the sister ship.  So you would work with a sister ship?

JM:  Well, when I say sister ship, we were based in the same area.  When we were in Florida, we were tied up alongside the 1473.  The 1473 might get sent out on individual assignments, or it might be coordinating some operation with us another time.   There was a 1472, a 1473, and a 1474.  There were three of us.  All the same ships.  Built in Nova Scotia.  Same specs and so forth.  So that's why I refer to them as sister ships.

KP:  There were three officers, how large was the crew?

JM:  There were 21 enlisted men.

KP:  So this is a very small crew.

JM:  Very.

KP:  What parts of the country did the crew and the officer come from?  What was their education?

JM:  All over.  All over the place.  We had a kid from Tennessee, a couple from Arkansas, we had two or three from New York state, two from Oklahoma, and one from Michigan.  The others came from all over the country.

KP:  Were all your officers 90-day wonders as well?

JM:  Yes, they were 90-day wonders, the two other officers with me were both graduated from Yale.  The captain came from a very well-to-do family.  I say that because as a kid, he had a lot of experience sailboating and swimming.  He had more knowledge, and was older, and he qualified, without any doubt.  He was a little bit of a nervous chap, but intelligent, very intelligent.

KP:  So he really knew his way around boats.

JM:  Yes.

KP:  He had more than the 90-day experience.

JM:  Yes, he had that kind of bringing up.  Like the Kennedys, he spent much of his summers in the Nantucket, Edgarstown, Martha's Vineyard, etc.

KP:  And he went to Yale?

JM:  He went to Yale.  ... And the other one did, too.

KP:  So that was Lieutenant ...

JM:  Wilson.  And the other officer was Thorne.  Fran Thorne was the executive officer.

KP:  And he was also Yale?

JM:  Yes.  I was just poor old Rutgers. [laughter]

KP:  What was your relation with Wilson and Thorne?

JM:  I got along fairly well with them.  The skipper, Wilson was a little bit of a nervous individual.  I don't have a tendency to be that way.  So, in interaction sometimes, he got a little touchy, but nothing serious.  The other fellow was great.  He was the calmest person I've ever met in my life.  We were in a hurricane off Rhode Island, and the winds were clocked at a hundred MPH.  We had an open cockpit, so you had no protection when you conned that ship.  You were out in the wind.  And no one will have any idea of how rain can hurt.  It was as if I took a punch and I punched you in the head.  That's how hard those raindrops were.  They were terrible.  And this fellow weathered that storm.  For two hours he was up there.  I wanted to relieve him.  Nope, he was the executive officer; he just felt that he should be in charge.  We had a fire one time in the Engine Room, and I happened to be off duty.  I had stood my watch, and I was down below.  We had officers' quarters on the stern.  So I came up, and out of the blue, as I was walking to the bridge, he says, "Joe, there's a fire in the engine room."  I said, "Are you serious?"  He said, "Yes."  I said, "Get a little excited for crying out loud!"  We had a fire bell up by the bridge, and I almost took the knocker off.  Crew members came up like fleas from below.  It proved something to me.  It's nice to be calm and cool, but boy, you can be too cool.  He was an example of that temperment.  One guy was excitable--and the other one was as calm as they come.  But in many respects, the fellow who had control of himself, did the better job in emergencies.  He was sure of himself.  You knew you could rely on him.  He was steady.

KP:  You mentioned initially that the executive officer ran the ship in many ways.

JM:  Most executive officers, believe it or not, do.  Oh, the captain always knows what's going on, you're reporting to him all the time, but the actual, physical management is his responsibility.  He is the one who assigns people, he sees that there's enough food, that the commissary officer also has got enough food.  He's like the manager.  The captain has the final say.  That's about the best analogy I can give you.

KP:  And that's the way it worked both on the sub-chaser and then later on the PC.

JM:  Right.  On the PC, you have more officers, so you can spread out responsibilities, instead of one person having three responsibilities, he would have two, at the most.

KP:  How would the officers conduct watches?  What was your day like when you were on a submarine chaser?

JM:  It varied.  The watches that we had usually were four hours in length.  Sometimes, if you had enough officers, like on a PC, you might only stand one watch in 24  hours.  But on that little SC, ahh.  You were four on and four off, and you went right around the clock.  And if you were on for any protracted time, you felt it.  The sub-chaser wasn't out continuously, like we were on the PC where we were always out, hardly ever in.  We would get fueled mainly alongside a dock, we managed to dock a lot while in the Philippines.

KP:  What was the longest you were out on a sub-chaser?  Roughly.

JM:  ... I would say, maybe eight days.

KP:  But your sleep schedule must have been totally off.

JM:  ... It was a little unpredictable.  But you had so much on your mind.  I always felt sorry for enlisted men, because they didn't have great responsibility.  Except in battle, when you're an officer, you're thinking of everything that can happen.  Even when you're off the deck, down below, you're thinking and thinking.  You don't have a chance to get sea-sick, or anything.  You're just mentally occupied.  Like I was in a terrible typhoon off Okinawa, and without exaggeration, those waves were up as high as 60 and 75 feet.  It was the one, if you ever recall, where the cruiser, Pittsburgh, had its bow knocked off.  Now being on a PC, you're ... riding high, but then again, when you dip, I mean you go down, your whole bow goes under water.

-----------------------END OF TAPE ONE, SIDE ONE----------------

KP:  I just wanted to continue our discussion of typhoons.  Would you say typhoons probably are the most vivid memories you have of the war?  Aboard ship?

JM:  Well, we made an attack on a sub one time, so that was exciting and vivid.  And we sunk a large mine.  Those two were real vivid to me, but so was the typhoon.

KP:  As officer on deck, what could you do when you were on duty? Did you simply ride out the typhoon?

JM:  Yes.  There's nothing else you can do.  The captain of the base purposely makes you leave the dock and go out, because you can get smashed to pieces laying at the dock.  The tide is going up and down.  You would get slammed against the pilings, and you'd ruin the ship.  So, you've got to go out.

KP:  So when a storm came you sailed out to sea.

JM:  You knew you were going out.

KP:  Would you have preferred just to dock?

JM:  Oh, I would, I would.  And how, I'd love that. [laughter]

KP:  The onset of the storm must have produced an even greater sense of foreboding.

JM:  You knew what was going to happen particularly if you went through one like I did in the Atlantic.  You knew what you're going to go through the next time.  And you could accept it a little better.  But the first time is a little frightful, just thinking about what could happen.

KP:  Did you lose any men on any of your ships when a typhoon came?  Was anyone washed overboard?

JM:  No, but one guy was swept over the side.  Fortunately, he had a lifejacket on, and we had a lanyard tied ... to his life jacket, and then to one of the posts.  And if it weren't for that, he would've been gone, because he went up there to secure a life line, and the bow went underneath and he was gone.  All of a sudden, he came up and went down again.  If he didn't have something to hold on to, I'm certain he would have gone over the side.  But that's the closest kind of a situation that we had where somebody might be lost.

KP:  Before I forget to ask, did you have any stewards on the ship?

JM:  No.  We were too too small for that.  Ray Taub being on a large ship was served by stewards.

KP:  Yeah, he mentioned that.  Did you have a pharmacist's mate?

JM:  We did on the PC.

KP:  But not on sub-chaser.

JM:  No, nothing.  You don't know how that fact got to me mentally!  I figured, "Oh, what's going to happen?  It could be the end of anyone of us."  The only thing we could do was get to a larger ship and have a pharmacist or a doctor come on board, or if we were not too far from shore, get in, ASAP.  But other than that, we were sort of expendable.  [laughter]  That's the way they put it to us in sub-chaser school.  They said, "Look, if you can't sink the subs with guns, ram them.  Even if you have to die, ram them."  And I'll tell you, I didn't like to hear that.  This was a real blood and guts navy commander.  This talk was given just after I got my commission.  It shocked me considerably.

KP:  And some guy's telling you.

JM:  It's a different thing if you've been in the service a while and somebody talks this way.  But I have to admit, I didn't like that order at all!

KP:  On a sub-chaser, it is quite small, how did the men, in a sense, did you prevent the men from killing each other in such close quarters?  Was it the fact that you were in and out of port, or just that everyone was so busy?

JM:  I would say that the fact that we could get into port reasonably soon, and having selected that kind of duty, these men knew what they were in for.

KP:  So this was something that was competitive, to get into a sub-chaser.

JM:  Well, it all depends.  If that's what I wanted, it would be competitive for me.  In the same way with the enlisted men, if they wanted to do that rather than be on a destroyer or a cruiser, it would be competitive.

KP:  In other words, your crew wanted to be on a sub-chaser.

JM:  Yes.  I only can remember maybe one guy who was a little dissatisfied with it, but all the rest liked it.  I liked the fact that we moved around a lot.  We were in Lefe and Nuevitas, Cuba.  Also Guantanamo.  You put into a lot of these places, and it is adventuresome.  And at age, eighteen, nineteen and twenty, these guys were ready for anything.  I don't intend to demean them, but they were commonplace type of guys, and they were rough and ready.

KP:  So when you say they were rough and ready, what was liberty like when you went into port?

JM:  It was a little rough.  I had to go down and rescue a few from jail.  They get looped and drunk, and then some city father would contact you telling you, "To come down and get one of your men.  We had a kid called Tennessee, and man, he was a nut when he went ashore, but you wouldn't want to be with a more courageous man if you were in trouble.  I had four or five like that.  I would put my life on the line with them.  They were terrific.

KP:  You also did have a stereotype of you know, sailors going into port and in a sense, smashing up the town.

JM:  Yes.  I think unfortunately most of the stories were true.  I think the fact that it was a release of their feelings after bouncing around in the sea and bad weather and other nerve wracking occassions working four hours on, four off.  Boy, they were ready to break loose when they went ashore.  That's understandable, too.

KP:  What were some of the ports of call?  You mentioned some of the ports of call in Cuba, where else did you make ports of call?  Both in the United States and in other parts of the Caribbean.

KP:  I was in Barranquilla, Columbia, South America.  ... That was where we went after the near miss with the tanker.  We put into port there.  We had to take quite a ride up a river to get to Barranquilla.  We were invited by the American consul to a party.  I don't know whether I want to admit this, but I never had a chance to drink too much, and it didn't take too much to feel the effects of a drink.  They featured what they call Cuba libres down there.  It was rum and coke.  And they had a waiter, serving one drink after another while you were standing and talking to someone.  He would just keep pouring it into your glass.  I, unfortunately had a little too much to drink and when we went to sea next day--the weather was horrendous, and I got so sick.  The exec was going to give me morphine, just to give you an idea how bad I felt.  It's the only time in my career that I got sick like that.  I think if the weather were better, I would've been able to weather it.  But it was rough.  And on a ship like the SC, you get bad weather, and you feel it.

Now as far as other ports I visited, I put into Guam, Ulitihi, Weymorth, MA, Woods Hole, MA, Great Salt Pond, Block Island, etc.

KP:  Yeah, I wanted to separate the Pacific.  Did you dock in Puerto Rico?

JM:  Yes, I did.  It was at San Juan.

KP:  And did you dock at any British or French islands?

JM:  ... Yes, I was in the Bahamas, and Nassau.

KP:  And in Florida.

JM:  In Florida, I was in Key West, and Miami.  And I was in Mayport.

KP:  You also mentioned South America, so you were also in Colombia?

JM:  ... Barranquilla, that's Columbia.  That's the only place I went in South America.

KP:  But otherwise, that was the only place in South and Central America?

JM:  Yes.

KP:  Did you go near the Panama Canal?

JM:  Yes, we wanted to go there, but one of our other S.C.'s did. 
KP:  You did want to go through the Panama Canal?

JM:  I wanted to go through those locks.

KP:  You never got a chance to go through the locks.

JM:  No, I felt bad, because we were so close to it.

KP:  Ray Taub had mentioned that that was one of the highlights of his life.

JM:  Did he go through it?

KP:  He went through the locks and he said that those were one of the two things he always wanted to do.

JM:  He's lucky.

KP:  You had never traveled South.

JM:  I had never traveled anywhere.

KP:  And so what struck you, say with the southern United States, Florida, at the time?  Was there anything that struck you different from New Jersey?

JM:  Of course.  The palm trees and warm climate.  It was something to actually be there and in that kind of an environment.  The weather was a lot warmer than I'd ever experienced up here.

KP:  What about the people you encountered in Florida in the early 1940s?  What struck you in terms of lifestyle?  Now admittedly your seeing these from ports, or do all ports start to look the same, in terms of what you would see?

JM:  Well, in the United States, I'd get the same reaction.  And, of course, when I went into Cuba and different ports, that was entirely different from the United States, their way of life, the language, and the customs and all those things were so different.

KP:  What struck you?  What was different?

JM:  Well, of course, the foreign language, and the way they dressed.  They didn't have to put a lot of heavy clothing on.  Their laid back attitudes.  Life down there didn't begin until eleven o'clock at night, and extend through three o'clock in the morning.  That custom was sort of commonplace.  Whereas up here, if you go out, you go out maybe seven thirty, eight o'clock, and get tired enough by one or two to go home.  And they had siestas down there.  There was a certain time in the day, usually twelve to two o'clock when they would nap.  That was something entirely new to me.  They didn't have that many cars in Cuba at the time. They used kerosene because they didn't have that much gasoline to run their cars.  And there weren't that many cars, the restaurants served their patrons outside, which was unusual.  I never saw anything like that.

KP:  You were such a small ship, you did not have a chaplain.

JM:  No.

KP:  When you were in port, did you go to mass?

JM:  Yes.  Whenever I was in port, I'd go to mass.

KP:  Would you go to navy chapels or local churches?

JM:  Yes, I'd seek out a local church.  When we were in the Pacific, we had one officer who was an executive in the Boy Scouts.  Lieutenant Haisington was a very accomplished religious leader.  So unofficially, he was our chaplain.  And we would conduct services on the bow of the PC.  He would be the moderator.  So everyone who wanted to go to services, whether Catholic or Protestant, would go up there.

KP:  They would go to the services.

JM:  ... We hardly ever got to church while serving on the PC.  It seemed like the timing wasn't good.  Most times on weekends we'd be cruising somewhere.

KP:  And so, you would miss mass.  But did you ever go to mass in say Cuba or Puerto Rico?

JM:  I went to mass in Tijuana, Mexico, but that's the only place I can remember attending mass on foreign soil.

KP:  You made a death charge attack on a German submarine.  As a  sub-chaser, what would be your relationship to convoys?  How long would you stay with a convoy?

JM:  It would depend where it was going.  Sometimes we'd stay with it, say, to a certain point.  Then another ship would take over, take her further.  Being a small ship we never made a complete run, like say from Florida to New York in a convoy.  We might take it from, Key West up to somewhere around Hatteras, or a location like that.  Then we'd drop off and go into port.  Another ship would continue protecting the convoy.  When we made the sub attack, we were by ourselves.  We weren't with a convoy when we made that attack.  And we were just outside Mayport, which is near Jacksonville.  We picked this sub up on our SONAR.  The tough part in those days, with SONAR you had to move your whole ship.  Today the dome under the keel rotates around.  But they didn't have that mechanism then.  You had to move your ship.  So, you would get reverberations back from the echoes you sent to the target and then go a little further until you didn't get any return ping.  Then you'd go back again.  You can zero in that way.  You can find out where it is, you can also tell the speed of the target.  You knew your distance from the sub.  So you knew how far in you'd have to proceed.  The procedure wasn't real accurate, but apparently we must have hit something with our depth charge.  The Germans, purposely wanted to trick you into thinking that you hit them.  They would send a lot of material up through their torpedo tubes.  So we never got complete credit for a sinking, but we were credited with what they call a probable sinking.  We called the naval base and they sent out 2 OSTU's.  They were Navy planes with pontoons and they had gear, that they could detect sounds ... under water.  And their analysis seemed to indicate that we probably did make a hit!  But we never received full credit for it.

KP:  How often did you make contact with the enemy?

JM:  That sub was the only one that we made contact with.

KP:  How often would you go on battle station?

JM:  If there ever was any threat, or if you thought there might be something brewing, you would go to battle stations.  To be ready in case it did.

KP:  But this was really your only contact with the enemy.

JM:  Yes, that was the only real contact that we had when I was on the sub-chaser.

KP:  The ships you convoyed were never sunk.

JM:  No, I never was in any sinking, except that in the Pacific-- we came upon a convoy just shortly after an LST was sunk by a midget Japanese sub.  They were son-of-a-guns.  These subs weren't long at all.  They would get in the middle of the convoys.  They acted like the kamikazes did, because they didn't give a care for themselves.  They'd fan out and take their chances.  They were very brazen.  Well, what we would do, in the harbor, if we picked up any signals that the Japanese were in the area, and we could tell because our own planes, primarily marine pilots, would clue us in.  And when that happened, we'd light these pots, and billowing smoke would go up.  And every ship would do that.  After a while, all you could see was a cloud above you, and you could see all your own ships, but they couldn't see anything from above.  They were trying to sink our ships.  The smoke would prevent this.  When we were out on a picker duty, we had stations where we had to go back and forth, ringing the area.  They probably wouldn't come after us, because a PC would not be worth it to them, but they would take the destroyer or anything larger and try to sink it.  But, we didn't want to take any chances, because we had so many ships in this harbor, that it was just a precautionary measure to light off these pots.  It was amazing how it just blanked everything out.  And you could hear these marine pilots up above, and I would just love to have had a tape or a sound recorder, to get particularly some of their language.  [laughter]

KP:  What struck you about it?

JM:  Some of the things I tell you, they were comical, and they were brazen.  I mean, they were gutsy individuals.  I would love to have met some of those fellows, because I just admired them. Maybe they acted in a fool hearted way, but they were brave.

KP:  I guess we should move to the Pacific, but for a time you were stationed in San Diego as a censor?

JM:  In San Francisco.

KP:  Yes, excuse me, San Francisco.  You do not know how you got that assignment.  How long did you do it?

JM:  Well, I was told that the ship I was going on wasn't ready to receive me.  So they wanted me to get to San Francisco, so that when the orders was ready, I could just take off.  So to keep me busy, in the meantime, they just had me censoring mail.

KP:  Did you find the experience of reading other people's mail interesting?  How did you react to that?

JM:  Well, you were always curious wondering what you might pick up.  Some of the letters you read were a little different. [laughter]  And others provided an interesting experience.  I never found anybody who wanted to commit some terrible act, create a catastrophe, or do something wrong.  By and large, I don't think you found that much devious kind of activity that went on.  But still in all, letters had to be censored.  It's good to have officers taking care of this chore while they're waiting for assignment.

KP:  Do you remember any of this correspondence?  In all the letters you read, did anything stick out?

JM:  ... I wish I could say yes, but I can't remember.

KP:  It sounds like it must have become a blur as you are reading letters, looking for specific things.

JM:  As you said, if I had the experience of picking up something unusual, then probably it would have stood out in my mind, but most of it consisted of ordinary statements.

KP:  Descriptions of life in the navy?

JM:  "I wish you didn't have to go out there," and "I hope you're going to be all right.  Take care of yourself."  That sort of thing.

KP:  How long did you censor mail?

JM:  One month.

KP:  Just one month.

JM:  Yes.  Then I was put on a supply ship and taken out to Pearl Harbor to pick up the PC.

KP:  Was this a new PC or was it an older one?

JM:  It wasn't very old.  Yes, it was rather new.  It was built in Portland.  No more than seven months.

KP:  And new crew, or fairly new crew.

JM:  Yes, fairly new crew.  The crew went aboard in Portland and sailed it down to San Francisco.  So, I missed it.  Probably, if there was another day or two, I may have been able to go up to Portland from Frisco and get on it there.  But the orders didn't come through in time, one of the officers who was on my ship when I came home was trying to get to us for about two months.  He kept missing our ship all the time.  Finally when we got to Tsingtao in China, he came aboard.  A a young ensign finally reported to us.

KP:  Yes, I have learned this in a number of other interviews, but I guess the popular perception is that the army, navy and air force were very organized.  You get orders and you go, and it is very organized and what has surprised me is how you often have to really make your way to things.

JM:  That's for sure.

KP:  You would be given these orders, and it's up to you to figure out a way to get there.

JM:  Yes.  You have to be innovative and ingenious sometimes, but  you see the trouble in the navy, movements of ships were dictated ... by actions, by things that happened, and they have no chance- -they weren't going to sit around in a place and wait for you to come if they had an engagement pending, or they had to make a special important run, you were secondary.  You just had to wait until that man could catch you somewhere.  But it's ... just interesting how this one person spent two months just trying to get to our ship.  [laughter]

KP:  As a young officer, what was your reaction to Hawaii as a young officer?  Given the Atlantic and you had been in the navy for a while.

JM:  It was quite different.  It was like paradise.  It was like a dream that just came out of nowhere.

KP:  You had approached from a supply ship.

JM:  Yes, I could see a small ship coming into view as seen from the supply ship.  That's where I got my view of a little SC from another perspective.  Looking at it bobbing around, ah!  I wanted to turn away.  It's one thing to be on them, it's another thing to be on something bigger looking at them.  Because when you're on board them, you're used to this bouncing around, but geez, it scares you when you're on a big ship that's so stable, and it provides such a steady platform because of its size, and you look out there and see the SC plowing up and down, and over, even when the sea was normal.  These S.C.'s and P.C.'s are very buoyant.  They don't draw a lot of water, maybe seven foot.  And being wooden ships, they float very easily.  They just bounce around.

KP:  In some cases they were made of wood.

JM:  Yeah.  Mine was wood.  The sub-chaser was wood.

KP:  When was your sub-chaser built?

JM:  In 1942.

KP:  Oh, so it was built during the war.

JM:  It resulted from a lend-lease deal with Canada.  It was built in Digby, Nova Scotia, where the tides rise and fall 30 feet.  I wasn't on it when it was commissioned, but the men who went to pick it up told me that they had to be very careful with the lines to the dock, because they had to be constantly watched due to radical tide.  And it would go down and lay over a little bit on its side.  It would hit the bottom.  Then the tide would come in and up it would go.  It was like being in a lock, going up and down.  You're--I don't know whether you've read anything about these unusual tides, but you should get a book sometime on the Bay of Fundy, rapid and radical tide changes, and it's remarkable how this water rushes in and out.

KP:  Yes, I have read about it.

JM:  Oh boy, it's something.

KP:  So your sub-chaser was a wooden structure that got built in Nova Scotia.

JM:  That's right.

KP:  What type of gunnery did you have?

JM:  ... What we had was a two pound English gun and I never saw it.  The crew that picked up the SC were telling me about it.  When they sailed down to the United States they removed it.  It was like having no gun at all.  I can't understand them putting such a weak type of gun on a ship.  They replaced it with a 40 mm gun.  It was an improvement.

KP:  You mainly would get depth charges?

JM:  ... We had what they call Y guns, they looked like a Y.  When fired, these depth charges are propelled out.  Depth charges roll off the side of the ship.  By opening up a pelican hook, the charge falls off.  The Y gun gets them further out.  In the front of the bow, we had what we called mousetraps.  There were two racks that had four miniature bombs.  They have a vane on the back portion.  And they will go off only on contact.  Whereas the depth charge will go off on a setting of so many fathoms.  If you set it for 75 fathoms, that's where it goes off.  So, if you fire depth charges, you select a setting, and you know how much water you are travelling over.  And one time when we were making test runs, we dropped a couple of depth charges almost a few feet above the bottom.  And boy, when they went off, rrft!, ... it would just shake your whole ship.  And up would come a bunch of dead fish.  In other words, they should have never been set so close to the bottom.  They should have been up a little-- ... one of the gunners mates did that.  But you learned a lesson real quick, you just watch your settings after that.  But I can't recall why we were there or what we were doing that for.  It must have been a training exercise setting them off to see if they functioned properly.  That was near Martha's Vineyard.

KP:  Going back to the Pacific, you were on a PC, and you had a  large officer contingent.  You also became the executive officer.

JM:  ... I was the executive officer.

KP:  You were made executive, until you became captain.

JM:  Then when the captain had enough points, I became the captain.  Yes.

KP:  As an executive, what were your responsibilities aboard the PC?  How did this ship differ from the sub-chaser?

JM:  Well, it's a much bigger operation, bigger engines.  Larger size ship, etc.  We had special machines that made fresh water.  They would remove the salt.  We didn't have anything like that on the sub-chaser.  Without this machine you had to take a salt water shower.  It's about the worst thing in the world that anybody wanted to do.  You're just so sticky after you're through with it.

KP:  Even with the special soap.

JM:  Right, even with the special soap.  So, we made fresh water.  But, unfortunately, after a while with the heat and weather conditions, the salt started to cake up on these machines.  And it was quite a chore to clean them, and get them ready to make more fresh water.  So after a while, we pretty much relied on larger ships to supply us.  We'd go alongside them, and they would send over fresh water to us.  What else did you ask me about?  Oh, you were talking about our complement of officers.

KP:  Yes.  Did your experience on the sub-chaser prepare you to serve as executive officer?

JM:  ... Oh definitely, yes.  Because on the sub-chaser you had to do so many things that you learned more than if you were on a large ship--I probably learned more as an ensign, than an ensign would on a supply ship.  Because you had to do so many things.  The different things you had to do, broadened your skills.  An executive officer on a ship becomes very responsible.  There were 67 people aboard.  The ship was 173 feet long, and about 25 feet wide, which was quite larger than the sub-chaser I was on.  And we were made of steel, not wood.

I would write up orders, every day, for the ship.  Different things we were going to do each day, and alerting the cook what to do, and the gunner's mates, and anybody else involved.  And I would read this to them every day, at eight o'clock in the morning.  Now I'd love to get a hold of that, I've misplaced it.  I've got it in my print shop somewhere.  It's not like having a log--a log is a wonderful thing to have, because that tells a history, that tells everything that goes on.  Whereas my executive orders primarily listed responsibilities for the members of the crew from day to day.

KP:  So you still have this.  You still have your log?

JM:  I've got that book somewhere in the office.  We changed our shop around and started moving things around.  I probably will find it.

KP:  That will be very useful.

JM:  Its real salty looking and its a wonder it's still together.

KP:  Yes, we would definitely like to make a copy of it.

JM:  Oh, you can have it.  You can keep it if I find it.

KP:  Yes, that would be very useful.

JM:  Yes.

KP:  Did you have any stewards on your PC?

JM:  No, but you asked me that.  Ray Taub did, but he was on a larger ship.  We didn't rate anything like that.

KP:  Did you have a pharmacist mate aboard?

JM:  Yes, we had a pharmacist mate on the PC.  In fact, when the atomic bomb was dropped, the pharmacist's mate assembled every can of grapefruit juice that he had.  The skipper happened to have some bottles of liquor, he's the only one probably who had liquor on board.  We mixed that up with the juices, and the 67 of us got pie-eyed, and I mean it.  We just drank all there was.  That's a terrible admission.  We got orders the next day to go up to Luzon.  It's a good thing that the sea was just as flat as that table.  Because, if it wasn't you'd have a ghost ship running around.  I mean it.  We were so happy to hear that the war was over, and we couldn't imagine what kind of a bomb could do so much damage.  That was one secret that was well-maintained as far as I was concerned.

KP:  So this was a real surprise when you were out at sea.

JM:  We were so elated and shocked ... and pleasantly surprised to think that something could be that powerful.  We knew then that this war was over.  We were in the Philippines practicing landings, and we were going to land in Japan.  One vessel was what they called the control PC.  We would guide waves of ships that would go in for a landing.  Primarily LSTs, LCIs, LSMs, etc.  We had a special officer controlling the landings.  That was his prime responsibilty.  He was the communications officer.  So we were drilling. ... We knew that the landing in Japan was going to be terrible.  I was so thankful that they dropped that bomb, I'll tell you.  We would have gotten ashore but there would have been a lot of dead navy men.  It would have been disastrous.

KP:  And it sounds like your drinking on board was quite a departure from navy regulations.

JM:  Well, we didn't drink on board.  The captain was the only one who had the liquor.  And I didn't know he had it until this day.  And he broke it out, because he said, "This calls for a real celebration!"  I said, "What are we going to celebrate with?"  His response was, "You'll see."  [laughter]  So I guess a captain can do things like that, he didn't abuse anything.  He had it there, maybe he'd have guests aboard every now and then when he was in the states and he had this liquor with him.  The pharmacist's mate, parted with all the grapefruit juice.  So it was quite a mix.  I never had a drink like that before.  [laughter]

KP:  In terms of your PC, what was your captain's background?  What was his name?

JM:  He worked with the Burroughs Company, he was a salesman.

KP:  And that was Lieutenant.

JM:  Jack Shaffer.  I'd like to bump into him again.  He was a nice guy.  He had good composure.  He was intelligent.  I would say that if Thorne weren't so darn calm, the two of them would have been in the same category.  But this fella seemed to have a good mix.  He was a good man to work with.

KP:  Where did he go to college?

JM:  I don't know, but I think it was some school on the Pacific Coast somewhere.  I'm not sure.

KP:  And he was also a 90-day wonder?

JM:  Yes, we were all 90 day wonders.

KP:  So you had no regular navy officers aboard?

JM:  No.

KP:  But you did not have any on your ship.

JM:  No.  We were all 90-day wonders.

KP:  And the enlisted men too, on both ships, they were new to the navy.

JM:  Yes.  We had a sprinkling of regular navy.  We had a boatswain's mate who was in the service for twenty years.  But most of them were, like myself, in the navy a real short time.

KP:  For the duration of the war.

JM:  Yes.

KP:  What was your relationship with other officers?  What were their backgrounds?

JM:  Well, as I told you, there's one fellow who was an executive in the Boy Scout program, I don't know what other training or background he had, but he was a very responsible and a very serious kind of person.  Another chap was an engineer.  He became the engineering officer.  Another one was the gunnery officer, I can't remember what his background was.  Then there was one guy, who was strictly in communications.  He was the one, I told you, who directed landing activity.  I don't know his background either.  I wish I knew more about these men.  The skipper was the guy they had to answer to, and work with.  So he got to know a little more about them.

KP:  In some ways you were distant from the other officers in the crew of the PC, especially when compared to your relationship with your fellow officers on the sub-chaser.

JM:  Yes.  The larger the ship, the more you got away, from the crew.  The more aloof you become, so to speak.  You never really gt away too much from your fellow officers.  You're not as close to the seamen as you were on the other ship.

KP:  Could you recount your PC's service in the Pacific?  After you left Hawaii, where did your ship go?

JM:   From there, we went to Eniwetok, which is a small atoll, maybe two or three feet above sea level.  We put in there for provisioning, refueling.  From there, we went to the Philippines.

KP:  You had mentioned you had docked quite a bit at Panay.

JM:  Pardon?

KP:  You had docked quite a bit at the island of Panay.

JM:  Yes.  In the Philippine Islands.  We went into a place called Batangas, which is on the island of Luzon.  And we went ashore there, we moored, we didn't go alongside a dock.  And I'll never forget we visited one of their marketplaces, and I'll tell you, we worry here about sanitation.  You'd almost throw up over there if you saw the raw meat on hooks with flies all over them.  Unbelievable!  And the people would be buying this stuff.

KP:  That was really quite a shock.

JM:  Oh, if you had a weak stomach, you wouldn't make it; it was terrible.  In the United States we worry about everything.  (Alar?) on the apples nothing compared to what I saw.  ... I don't know why we were there.  I think we escorted a ship, and we had a day off, so we just went ashore.  From there, we went to Ilo Ilo, we escorted a ship down there.  And then we rehearsed landings.

KP:  You were practicing.

JM:  Yes, we were practicing.  That was in August of '45.  And after so many weeks of that, the bomb was finally dropped sometime in August-- I forget, near the beginning of August.  So then we were given orders to go north.  We had to take the surrendering Japanese general to Korea.  We went to Jinsen, which is a seaport leading to Seoul.  I'll never forget him.  He was a little guy, and wasn't probably no more than five feet tall.  Spit and polish.  And we offered him an American cigarette.  He thought that was the greatest thing.  He was very humble, at that point, because the United States had taken over.  We dropped him off at Jinsen.  He would surrender his troops.  That was his mission.

KP:  Did he speak English?

JM:  No.

KP:  So he did not have any conversation with you and the other officers.

JM:  No.

KP:  I have a terrible time learning any language.  So you only interacted with him with the interpreter?

JM:  That's right.  I took a little time off and I visited a Korean orphanage.  And I visited with a priest there, and some nuns.  The first time I ever had sake, I was surprised that I would have it in that environment.  It could be a potent drink, but I had a little just to be sociable.  I returned to my ship, and cruised around the harbor.  Lo and behold, we came across the battle cruiser Alaska.  And I knew that a classmate of mine was aboard that ship.  A fellow by the name of Ronny Jarvis.  He was to our last reunion.  He's from Kansas City.  And we went alongside, and we had a shouting, greeting "Hello, how are you?"  It was quite a thrill, quite an experience to think you go to that part of the world and you bump into a classmate.  And then from there, we came down to Tsingtao, a seaport in Northeast China.  We picked up some shore patrolmen who had been on duty over there, never had any sea duty and they were there for probably anywhere from eighteen to 23 months.  They had served their time, and had gotten their points.  They were ready to go back to the states.  Well, at that time, my skipper left, and as the new captain I had to report to the director of the port.  He told me that I had to take these fellows back.  So I had a meeting with them.  There were about eight or nine.  I said, "Look, I'll be only too happy to take you back, but I want you to know what you're going to be in for."  I said, "This is a rough ship."  I said, "We're used to bucking the sea."  "Oh no, we're old salts, we won't get sick-- you won't have any trouble with us."  I said, "Okay."  So we took off, and headed for Guam.  On the way, we ... were given the word by the skipper of our formation that there was a mine that had to be sunk.  Because I was the last one in the formation, I got the job.  Did I tell you this before maybe?  We got within a thousand yards of it and we fired a 45mm.  I did tell you that?

KP:  You mentioned it, but go on.

JM:  So we were putting shots all around the mine and nothing happened.  Got in even closer--started firing 20mm shells at it, and still no action.  So it was a matter of determination to sink that mine.  In the meantime we were getting fairly close to the mine.  There was an ex-marine aboard who transferred to the navy.  He came to me and said, "Sir, let me have a Springfield 30 rifle."   "What are you going to do with that?"  He said, "I'm going to sink that mine."  "You think you are?"  He said, "I know I am."  He climbed up the mast.  "I can get a good bead on it.  I can get a good idea where it is, I can see it."  And sure enough, he did.  He hit a horn, and that thing exploded.  You have no idea how large a mine like that is.  It's about three times the size of this table here.  Before it went off I had everybody put helmets on.  It was the first time we ever wore helmets.  Pieces of shrapnel were flying in the air and coming down on us.  Unfortunately, the concussion was so great that it knocked the whole starboard engine out.  So I reported it to the captain of the destroyer.  And I said, "I lost an engine. "  "I can only do about ten knots."  He said, "Okay, we'll all set our speed at ten knots."  We headed toward Guam and got there to find that there was no immediate availability to repair the engine.  We'd have to wait a week and a half.  So I mustered the crew, and I told them the story, that we'd have to wait awhile.  Christmas was four days away.

KP:  Christmas of 1945 ...

JM:  Yes.  So they said, "Oh no, we can fix it."  But the only thing that really worried me was we had lost all our chief engine room men because they had enough points to be discharged.

KP:  Because they had enough points to leave.

JM:  They had enough points to go.  So the leading man in the black gang was twenty years old.  He was only a third class fireman.  We had a number of other young firemen, the head motor mechanic said, "Sir, let us try something."  So he said, "We'll read the diesel engine manual."  They went down below and I'll never forget it.  They worked themselves crazy.  They'd read a little, fix a little.  And I remember looking down at them, and talk about making a repair!!  So they said, "We do feel that we have fixed it sufficiently to get to Eniwetok," which was about maybe six or seven hundred miles away.  Well, I had my doubts, but they put so much pressure on wanting to get back home, that I said, "Okay."  We took off.  We did all right until we got a hundred miles away from Eniwetok.  Again we had to creep in with the one engine.  Once again they went through the same routine, and made temporary repairs.  We left there for Pearl Harbor.  It was a pretty good ride.  Whatever they did, the engine held up again until we were about sixty miles out.  [laughter]

KP:  And then the one engine went.

JM:  Yes.  Thank God that the other engine kept going.  It's a miracle they did what they did.  I was on pins and needles crossing my fingers that we would make it.

KP:  So they really wanted to get home.

JM:  Oh, that was a driving factor.  They wanted to get home.

KP:  So once they got to Pearl Harbor.

JM:  Once we got to Pearl, then we had a real overhaul performed.  Oh, they fixed it up perfect, because from there to San Diego it was no sweat.  But going into Pearl was quite a precarious maneuver, because the current was coming from the right.  We had to make a docking to the left side.  So, with no starboard engine we couldn't counteract the current, we had to control our movements with the rudder. ...

----------------------END TAPE ONE, SIDE TWO---------------------

KP:  This continues an interview with Joseph B. McCartney, with Kurt Piehler, on July 7, 1994.  You were talking about docking in Pearl Harbor.  Could you continue the story about how difficult it is to dock without a starboard engine.

JM:  We're on?

KP:  Yes.

JM:  So, coming in, for a landing, I was able to control the movement enough to scrape along the side of another PC.  I watched one of the officers on deck of the ship we were approaching and I could see him holding his head, because he was afraid that I would put the bow of our ship into his side.  Luckily, we came in and grazed him slightly.  Needless to say, I was sure happy that nothing serious happened.

KP:  As captain did you sense a real change in the nature of your responsibilities, especially in a situation like this?

JM:  Yes.  You really feel very much on the spot.  And you know that whatever you have to do, it's going to either affect the crew one way or the other.  In other words, if you said, "I would like a sense of responsibility."  To have that piece of equipment under your command, and then to be assured enough to know what you're doing, you can control it is a great feeling.  I'll admit that the situation was a tense one, a little precarious.  I was lucky that it worked out the way it did.

KP:  You had mentioned that you had participated in an attack on a Japanese miniature submarine.  Where did this attack happen?

JM:  Actually, ... we didn't attack it.  It was in the convoy that we were with.

KP:  And this was a convoy ...

JM:  And this was a convoy just off Formosa.

KP:  Okay.

JM:  This little sub sunk one of the ships in the convoy and disabled another.  We went on from there.  That was just before we went to meet this Japanese general.

KP:  So this was in early August?

JM:  Yes, it was.

KP:  It was before the bomb was dropped.

JM:  No, it was after.

KP:  Oh so you ...

JM:  I think the bomb was dropped in the first week in August, and this was the eighteenth, nineteenth, something like that.  After we left Ilo Ilo city.

KP:  That was before the surrender of Japan?

JM:  Well, I can't remember now how long it took for Japan to surrender.

KP:  But this was in that gray period.

JM:  Yes, it was.

KP:  Was this sinking by a miniature submarine a surprise?  Was this something that you expected?

JM:  I would say that it was pretty much a surprise.  I don't know whether I had read anything about these happenings.  I did after I got out of the service.  I didn't know anything about Kamikazes until, all of a sudden, they hit, and then the word went through the fleet, that they were diving into ships.

KP:  How big was the convoy that you escorted to the Formosa Straits?  Do you remember, roughly?

JM:  I think it was about maybe fifteen, sixteen ships, something like that.  They were naval ships, like LST's.  They were not tankers or any large ship.

KP:  Yeah.  You mentioned you were in Okinawa.

JM:  Yes.

KP:  When were you stationed in Okinawa?

JM:  When was I there?

KP:  Yeah.

JM:  Well, let's see.  I think probably we went there after that convoy duty.  It was in August, too, but I don't remember the dates.  And we weren't there too long, because that's when we went from Okinawa to Korea, and then from Korea to China.  We weren't there too long.  That's where we had the smoke pot display.

KP:  So you were there while there were still hostilities going on?

JM:  Yes.  There were big privateers, B-24's, that were based on the shore, right out from where we were anchored, and they were taking off every morning.  About 25 of these planes every morning.  The Japanese didn't formally surrender at that time.

KP:  The war for you in August is very much still going on.

JM:  Yes, that's right.

KP:  Before the bomb had been dropped, how long did you think the war was going to go on?  What was your fear?

JM:  Oh boy, I figured at least ten to twelve more months.

KP:  So you really were expecting a long fight?

JM:  Oh, yes.  We thought for sure we'd be making landings in Japan and that it would take quite an effort.  Because the Japanese were so staunch in their defense.  They would die for their emporer.  They did the extremes in everything.  And we just envisioned a nasty engagement.

KP:  What other vivid memories do you have of your experiences in the navy during World War II?

JM:  The trip up the Hai Ho River.

KP:  Yes.

JM:  The vistas were spectacular.

KP:  Why did you end up in China?  Was that to move personnel or did perform some other mission?

JM:  That's a good question.  I can remember a flotilla of ships being anchored in Tsingtao.  We got there after we came down from Peking.  And I know we had mission to Korea.  But what we were doing going up to China, it sounds dumb of me, but I can't quite remember at the time what the heck that was for.  We didn't achieve anything, we didn't fight anyone, we I went on a trip up to Peiping with two other officers and three enlisted men.  We went on liberty.  To come all this way and not see Tientsin or the capital of China would have been tragic!

KP:  A tour of China.  So China left a vivid memory for you, you had the currency and so forth.  What are your memories of China?  You went to Peking and you where else did you go?

JM:   Yes. I went to Tientsin, a very crowded city.  I had purchased a lot of exquisite Chinese silk and other items, which unfortunately were stolen at the Plainfield post office.  The postmaster called my father and said there was quite a large package there, and "Would you come down and pick it up?"  Well, unfortunately, he let some time go by, and when he got there, someone had stolen it.

KP:  So it made it to Plainfield.

JM:  Yes, I felt terrible.  There was some beautiful silk, a samurai sword, and a Japanese rifle.  I had a wad of many different things.  And I'll tell you, I really felt terrible for a while, but what are you going to do?  I guess my father was just busy, at that time, and nobody would think that, someone would steal it.  The container must have been pierced and part of the contents protruded.  Someone saw the material and took off with it.

KP:  That is unfortunate.

JM:  Yes, I remember that little store in Tientsin where I bought the goods.  In fact, I have pictures home of five little girls standing in front of this store.  I also have pictures in Tientsin of things that happened.  When I was a kid I used to read about these locomotives that would arrive in a train station with people all over them.  As this train came into the Tientsin station people charged the train.  They threw chickens and piglets, etc. through the windows.  They boarded in a frenzy.  They were entering through windows.  You couldn't get another body in that train.  They were perched on the locomotive.  I was wowed!  You read about these things, but to see them, unbelievable.

KP:  What else do you remember of China?

JM:  I remember the wall.  I never went on it, but I saw it.  I saw the Temple of Heaven; it was in the Forbidden City.  And I also saw a number of dromedaries.  Seeing them floored me.  Just momentarily I thought of Egypt and camels.  And here they were having come down from Mongolia.

KP:  When you were in college or in high school, what had you learned of China, and how had what you had learned fit what you experienced?  Did your views of China and other parts of the world change as you experienced them?

JM:  To tell you the truth, I can't remember too much of what I studied in school concerning China.

KP:  Or other places.

JM:  I don't know quite how to answer that.  The Philippines, to me they had a lot of sugar, and hemp.  It was an agricultural kind of a country.

KP:  Yeah.  It seems that the poverty struck you a great deal.

JM:  Oh, yeah.

KP:  Were you expecting it?

JM:  I think so.  Once I saw Cuba, and some of those other islands, and saw how people lived.  I expected to see the same poverty.

KP:  You then you figured this pattern, but the initial contact though, was that a big surprise to you?

JM:  Yes, I would say so, because, having not gone anywhere then all of a sudden being thrusted into such an environment was somewhat shocking.  Kids running around with no clothes on.  And sanitary conditions that didn't exist.  In Camaguey, Cuba, the fecal matter and everything coming down, out into the street.  And we were always so concerned in this country about sanitary conditions.  It just was very sad, to see this kind of living.

KP:  And you mentioned that the navy, because it was more comfortable.  Did this navy fulfill your expectations?  After all, you served on two very small ships.

JM:  I really enjoyed, if you can say enjoyed, myself in the navy.  Being lucky enough to come out of it without injury was a blessing.  The experience was great, the visitation to various places in the world, to see how certain people live, to learn a little bit more about life.  I became more appreciative.  Those are the things that I felt benefitted me, and I truly loved the navy.

KP:  Had you thought of making the navy a career?

JM:  Well, I didn't, but I was in the reserves for a number of years.  I joined a unit down here in Perth Amboy.  They, at that time, had a PC assigned to the unit.  I was there for about three-four years.  I took a cruise to Miami from there.  You could say that I had quite a yen for it, but I don't think that I ever would want to complete twenty years.

KP:  You did not want to become a regular?

JM:  No, but I did have a great avocation-- a good feeling about the navy.

KP:  What movie do you think represented your experiences in the Navy?  You mentioned on another occasion that Mr. Roberts most matched your experiences.

JM:  Oh, yes.  We'd come to these islands, we wouldn't dock, but these young women would come out in these special kind of boats, I don't know what you'd call them.  Not sampans, but something along that line.  And the guys were just horsing around with them, I don't know where they got panties, but they had them and they were holding them up and all these girls were [laughing] very embarrassed and blushing.  It reminded me of Mr. Roberts.  You didn't get ashore too often out there, and whenever you would meet up with these native girls, the crew would act up when they spotted island girls.

KP:  You had mentioned once that you had several islanders aboard your ship.  I think if I remember correctly, that several came on board to clean up the engine room.

JM:  Yes.  We had two men aboard and God bless them.  They worked so hard.  They went down into the bilges where the oil collects and did an A-1 job of cleaning the area.  We gave them some cans of tuna fish, I'm ashamed to say, we should've done more.

KP:  Yes.

JM:  They were so appreciative.  You'd think they got gold.  They were thanking us all over the place.  I had some old worn shoes, which I gave them.  Oh, when you think of how thankful they were to receive something that was so incidental to us, it put a lot of us to shame.  We are so lucky in this country.  We sometimes just take so much for granted.

KP:  You had gone through the Depression, and you did not have a lot of money.  Did this change your view of the United States?  Did it put it into perspective?  Did you get a sense that even growing up in the hard times of the Depression, we were wealthier than we thought?

JM:  I think so.  To tell you the truth, it may sound strange for me to say this, but I think some of our happier times were during those days.  Because of the economic conditions, we were bound together a little bit more.  There was less in-fighting.  There was more cooperation.  People felt sorry for each other.  Some people figured they had it bad, and then they'd see somebody else who had it worse, and they would turn around and be helpful.  There was less spite, more cooperation.  So, you made a lot out of almost nothing.  Whereas today, there is too much selfishness. 
KP:  You had fought in two theaters, and is there any differences or similarities you saw between sort of the command structure, between leadership, above your ship's level?  The nature of the duties that I have not asked about?

JM:  I don't know.  Things on the East Coast seemed to be more regulated and controlled, and I think we felt more like we were connected with commands.  When we operated in the Pacific, we felt like a bunch of nomads running around, because although we were part of the Sixth Fleet no one would know it.  No one could care less if something happened to a PC, because we weren't as important as a destroyer, and nowhere near the value of a cruiser.  And the enemy wouldn't pay that much attention to us, particularly the Kamikaze planes.  We were sort of in a great big Pacific Ocean, without any immediate command.  We'd receive all our direction via the radio, whereas when we were in the states if operating say in Miami, Jacksonville, or New York, etc., we were in our own country, and with our own people, and with our own officers.  We had a closer link in carrying out our orders.

KP:  You mentioned you were with two other companions as sub- chasers.

JM:  Yes.  There was a PC-803, and then there was an 804.  We were the 802.

KP:  So you had been in much more of a team approach with these two other ships.

JM:  Yes, principally near the end of our stay in Asia.  On our way home in close contact with the PC 803.  During the latter part of the war, they got detached from us and went on other assignments.  I think they were somewhere near us, but I didn't really get to know about them until we arrived in Eniwetok where I went aboard the 803, and one of their officers was a classmate of mine.  Jack Ambos by name.  You'll probably interview him in time.  He was the engineering officer on the 803, and he and I, graduated from here together, and we knew each other in school.  So it was a nice feeling, to bump into someone from the class, in addition to the fellow who was on the USS Alaska, Ron Jarvis.

KP:  Now you mentioned that when you were in the Pacific, you felt like you had literally would not be missed.

JM:  We operated by ourselves quite often.  Even though we might have been with the 803, occassionally we received orders from higher commands on shore or some ship, if we were with a squadron of destroyers, the senior officer in the group would issue orders.

KP:  In the case of China, it sounds like you did not have a clear idea why you were sent.

JM:  To secure compliance with the peace settlement.

KP:  But you had been given these tasks that would often vary.

JM:  I think the only reason we went to China was it was the end of the war, and the fleet commander wanted us to oversee the conditions set forth in the surrender of the Japanese forces.  And so, since there was no further enemy action, we had the chance to take off for a trip to Peking.

KP:  I just wanted to follow up, so suppose your ship had broken down and you where not able to fix the engines.

JM:  The ship did break down, after we shot the mine.  We weren't disabled completely, we still had the use of starboard engine.

KP:  Yes.

JM:  We were lucky that we were in formation with two other ships, so that if we developed a malfunction we would rely on those other two ships for help.

KP:  Yes.

JM:  Occasionally we would receive commands from admirals or captains of other ships by radio.

KP:  There were only a few of you.

JM:  We were, we felt comfortable that way.  If something happened, at least we were with a couple of our own ships.  In fact, I don't recall whether I told you or not, that destroyer, got on the radio, called us, saying, "Now, we're going to leave the formation, and we'll see you in the morning.  We have to take care of a man with appendicitis."  Did I tell you this?

KP:  No.

JM:  He broke off from the formation and said, "We have to find the proper sea condition in order to permit the operation to take place."  You don't want the ship to be pitching or rolling.  So he said, "I can't tell you what course I'm going to be on.  All I can say is, you'll see me in the morning.  I'm going to search for a course that will be less turbulent, so this operation can be performed under the best possible conditions.  The next day, the sun came up over the horizon, and he rejoined us.  And we went on from there to Guam.  That was quite an experience, just to hear of someone who was operated on at sea.

KP:  The only kind of hostile action was when you exploded the mine.

JM:  Yes, that was a tense situation.  Actually, we moved in a little too close to that mine.  But I was getting so frustrated.  We couldn't sink it.  And truthfully, I never envisioned the size of this weapon.

KP:  Until it actually exploded.

JM:  ... I never would have gotten that close to it.  It was huge.  You think a mine as something about the size of this table.  This was a monster.  Must have been out there a long while, because it was very rusty.  And apparently it was something that they had laid which broke away from its moorings and came up.  And when he radioed me and said, "You have to sink a mine."  Phew!  My heart skipped a beat.

KP:  I want to come back to your navy experience, because having been called back into the Korean War, but I first, in the intervening years, you had mentioned earlier why you ended up at Rutgers.  And is this something that you wanted to do, come back to Rutgers?

JM:  If you recall, I told you that when I was an undergraduate, I worked in the school print shop, and an official John Kirkwood by name knew me.  He had an office nearby, and used to go back and forth, through my office got to know me.  I returned to Rutgers because he phoned me, and said, "Would you like a job?  Would you like to be my assistant?"  So that's why I went back.

KP:  And was this something you wanted to do?

JM:  I wanted to do something in personnel.  I had gotten out of the navy, and I had no job, and of course, I knew Mr. Kirkwood real well.  Luckily I could come back and get myself adjusted to civilian life, and work with a friend.

KP:  When you say adjust to the civilian life, was this hard for you, to make the adjustment?  What was different about being a civilian?

JM:  The only thing I found that coming out of the war, ... my eyes blinked excessively.  We worked in the dark a lot.  No lights were permitted, and my hearing wasn't that great, either, although I did not experience a lot of explosions.  But my eyes, primarily were affected.  Patrolling in the dark was the main cause.  Some destroyer captains fired shots across the bow of merchant ships, when they wouldn't acknowledge him and turn their lights out.  All a German sub needed was some lights.  You had to be in pitch black existence.  And you couldn't throw garbage over either.  That would be another tell tale of your presence.

KP:  So you never threw garbage over?

JM:  No.  We could hold onto garbage for four or five days until we made port.

KP:  And then get rid of it.  Was it a change when people would not follow your orders as quickly?  You had been an officer and even a captain.

JM:  No.

KP:  That part was not hard on you?

JM:  ... No.  By nature I'm not a real authoritative person, I have control of myself, I'm not, egotistical either or the kind that would get up and spout off.  I had no problem that way at all.

KP:  How did you meet your wife?

JM:  Well, that's a very interesting story.

KP:  Because, I've read that she's from Rhode Island.

JM:  Well, that was a girl I went with.  I didn't marry her.

KP:  Oh, you did not.  Oh, okay.

JM:  I was engaged to her.

JM:  But the distance threw a clinker into things.  She lived in Providence, Rhode Island.

KP:  So you were engaged with someone you met in Rhode Island and that did not work out.

JM:  Pretty much.  There were other little things present.  There was too much of a mother influence present.  She always had to check everything out with her mother.  And I figured, that's all I needed, to get married and have her call her mother up all the time.  So that and the distance I would have to travel did the relationship in.

KP:  And you corresponded during the war?

JM:  Yes, we corresponded.  When I was on duty off Rhode Island, I saw her quite frequently.  It's only when I got out of the service and returned to New Jersey that it didn't work.

KP:  But you stayed engaged during the war?

JM:  Yes.  I think that if, her mother were a different kind of a person, I may have even gone on and waited, the distance wouldn't have deterred me, but the two of them put together-- I just saw a red flag.  And I have heard of cases where this caused great trouble later on.

So the girl I married actually worked for the university here in the publications department.  I happened to be looking out the window one day and she was walking right near one of the fraternities across from Winants.  Zeta Psi, or something like that.  It so happened that my boss's secretary was her sister but I didn't know that at the time.  So I'm spouting off one day and I said out loud, "Look at that nice gal down there.  I wonder whether I could meet her."  And her sister who was standing next to me said, "That's my sister." "Really!"  I said, "Is she engaged?"  "No, but she's going with someone steady."  I said, "She's not engaged!  Do you think that you might be able to inveigle a date for me?"  She said, "I'll try."  So she came back the next day and she said, "My sister thinks she might go out with you."  So that's how it started.  It's always interesting to see how people meet each other.

KP:  So you had met her after the war?  You met her at Rutgers.

JM:  I met her after the war.  After I started that job with Mr. Kirkwood.  She's the kind of individual who never went any further than high school, but had a very mature mind and was innately intelligent.  She set up her own little business after we got married.  She typed dissertations.  She did a preponderance of Rutgers dissertations, but she also prepared dissertations for Brown University, Fordham, NYU, the University of Chicago, Iowa University, etc.  She got to be known so well, that she was doing these works and mailing them to students at other colleges.  Having been in the publications field, she was an exceptional editor.  She read every theses completely before typed them and she called the student in for consultations before starting the typing.  She would point out typos and various discrepancies.  She had a good knowledge of bibliography, footnotes and all that sort of thing.  One time she did a paper for a person whose husband was an editor with some big company in New York.  My wife picked up a word that was being misspelled throughout the whole writing.  So she got the woman and told her. The client said, "Listen my husband is an editor too, and he hasn't mentioned anything about this so just type it the way it is."  She typed it.  It was turned down.  The student had to do the whole thing over again.  Had to redo the dissertation because of the number of misspellings of that one word, desiccate.  She was a wonderful editor.  Very little of anything, ever got by her.  She ran this business up till she developed lung cancer.  She had three girls working for her.  She got to the point where she did all the editing and they did the typing.

KP:  Yes, I have seen an article that gave the impression that you had got back into printing business in part, because of your wife.

JM:   Definitely.  In fact, we used to put out the ... biology manual here for Rutgers.  It was a loose leaf production put in a binder and we did that for about seven, eight years.  Finally near the end of this period, she figured rather than using carbons, she would buy a small printing press.  She didn't know anything about printing, but she bought this press anyway.  When I came home one night she was crying.  I said,  "What's the matter?"  She said, "Well, I can't make this thing work."  And I said, "How do you expect to, you've only had it two days and you're not a mechanic."  We have a very accomplished son, the oldest of four, and he said, "Don't cry mother, give me that manual."  He was sixteen, at the time.  After about two or three days, of reading and probing and so forth, he got the press operating.  He taught her.  She taught me, and then we taught the other son.  The four of us worked the printer on and off at different times.  In 1970, I left the Museum of Natural History and decided the two of us would go in business.  She was the one who got the business going.  But my oldest boy is the one who perpetuated it.  He kept it moving and advanced it into a commercial enterprise.

KP:  I think I talked to him on the phone.

JM:  Oh, you have?

KP:  Or at least one of your sons.

JM:  You may have talked to one or the other.

KP:  Yes.

JM:  But she was responsible, she'd showed the ambition, she's the one who went out and rented an office.  I look back on it, I was 51, and it was a very touchy kind of a thing to embark on, because I had been in industrial relations all my life and even though I had learned a lot about this kind of business because my father was a printer too.  But it was quite a challenge to rent a store, for an office and start from scratch at that time in life to develop a new business.

KP:  Well I was also struck because you had left a very good job at the Museum of Natural History which was probably a very stable position.

JM:  ... It was.  But it was too quiet for me.  I had been in the electronics industry that was very active.  In the museum you work in an environment where everything is quiet.  You can't hear anything.  It just got to be too dead beat for me.  Wasn't lively enough.  You hire so many people, and then a lull.  The activity pace is slow!  Where I was before, the phones were ringing, people were running back and forth, etc.  I don't know, maybe I was foolish, but I just didn't like the environment.  Quitting turned out to be the best thing that happened to us!

KP:  You ended up really enjoying this new business.

JM:  ... The thing I like about what I'm doing now is that I'm doing a little of everything.  It gave me a chance to use the accounting that was my college major, which was a real necessity.  As far as I'm concerned if a person doesn't have a proper concept of the business end, there is trouble ahead.  It's one thing to know the technical aspects, but if you don't know what you're doing in buying, and in controlling your inventory, and projecting programs, etc., and completing all the government forms that there are and the state requirements as all, you're in trouble.  I feel that I made a big contribution in financial management.  David made the technical contribution, but in the long run I even worked into that.  I ran the press, I worked in the bindery, I have an overall good knowledge of job printing.

KP:  Are you sort of surprised to be back in the printing business after your father being a printer?

JM:  Well, I was.  It was sort of something that happened and as I say, my wife and my son were responsible for that too.  Otherwise I don't think I would have moved into the field on my own.

KP:  Yes, you probably would have found a job in an another area.

JM:  I probably would have gone into industrial relations someplace else, but at 51 it was not a bit easy.  I may have gotten a job all right, but I would not have made the money I was accustomed to making.  It's a cruel world out there, particularly now; things are getting worse.  These companies are dumping people left and right, all they're doing is, cutting their costs, they are putting younger people in place of higher salaried older persons, paying them less, cutting down on benefits, bringing in temporary help.  Truly, it's a cutthroat environment.  I was lucky.  The period of time I came through, there was a certain amount of loyalty and fidelity between a company and an employee.  You don't have that anymore.  You go into a company, you don't know how long you are going to be there.  We've been doing printing for a bank since 1972, since we went into business.  They're going to get taken over the first of the year by a large bank.  And we're going to loose our biggest account.  So nothing happened to us directly, but through this merger it's going to hurt us.  I only use that as an example.  I'd say you can't count on anything, really, it's sad.  But the bottom line money is all that anybody's interested in anymore.  The shareholders, you have to take care of them and if it calls for knocking off 25,000 people up in IBM and Texaco 8,000, etc.  So we were lucky.  As a family we worked together well, we had the right ingredients.  We all worked hard.  We had contributions from everyone, even my two daughters who worked with us.  So it was successful.  But, unfortunately we're into a time, also, where in the printing game we have to watch out for computers.  Computers are becoming so sophisticated.  You take a xerox copier, things come out now, with colored copies on it.  We are not naive, we feel in another ten years, printing as it's known now is going to be out the window.  And, ... of course, with computers and other technologies, ... you're going to witness a lot of things that I'll never see.

KP:  Before going back to the navy, I want to ask you about the dissertations your wife worked on.  In terms of dissertations, the whole nature of the process of producing them has changed.  In addition, you became very familiar with Rutgers after the war What had changed about the campus since your days at the school?

JM:  Well, there were many more students on campus.  I came back to Rutgers at a time when many veterans were getting out of the services and they were coming back.  They had the G.I. Bill.  And I know men who came back with one or two children to complete their education.  They probably completed two years and then entered the service.  After serving two-three years they came back.  Out in the Heights we had nothing but houses, occupied by married students.  There were many who returned.  I came back into an environment, where veterans were ready to take advantage of the G.I. Bill.

KP:  You really got the impression that Rutgers was on the move.

JM:  Definitely.  Oh, very much.

KP:  And you said it was married students.  Did the student body change?  How did the social life of the campus change not that you had so many students with children, did that effect the life of the campus?

JM:  The fact that men were coming back married with responsibility and children, ... their sights were set, they wanted to get on with their life and some of them were already 26 and 27 years old.  So they had no chance to frit around.  They came in here to study, get their degree and get out.  And that was a lot different from when I attended Rutgers.  Take somebody who was going to graduate at 21, his ideas are different, he hasn't been tested, he hasn't even been out in the world.  These fellows came back, they were mature.  There was no fooling. ... Whatever frivolities existed before or whatever philosophy existed before, they certainly were not that way coming back.

KP:  Where there any tensions between G.I. Bill people and those traditional nineteen and twenty years olds?

JM:  I didn't see it.  No.

KP:  Were you concerned or were others concerned about sort of the depression after the war?  I have read that there was a fear among many that there would be a postwar depression.

JM:  No.  I felt that the country had to start making up for what it didn't do before.  You needed cars, refrigerators, homes.  You've got all these guys coming back.  They have to live somewhere.  We had to have a surge in the other direction.  They had no thoughts of depression.  We were in a wonderful time in history to develop, and to start using many of the assets that we had to discontinue because of the war.  Instead of making tanks now we were going to make cars.

KP:  So you did not have a sense of worry that you would have this sort of down turn that you had after World War I?

JM:  No, no.

KP:  What other changes did you see at Rutgers?

JM:  It was like I said before, we were advancing to the big leagues.  There was an expansion of the athletic programs.  We were able to attract a higher level of professors.  We expanded our ceramic engineering program, the science departments expanded, work in cable optics blossomed.  Everything seemed to be expanding and new fields came into being that never existed before.  The university just grew like a mushroom.

KP:  Did you think that Rutgers was going to be the place that you were going to base your career at?  Or was this your first job?

JM:  No, I didn't think so, because I didn't think the money would be there to raise a family. ... One plus was if you joined Rutgers as an employee-- your kids could go to school free.  But even though I liked it very much, and I enjoyed it, it was too pleasant for me.  I wanted a little more action which I knew I would get in industry.

KP:  Do you think the desire for more action came from your service with the navy?  Had you naval service effected you in this way?  You had seen the world, and you had had a lot of different experiences, including the command of a ship.  In other words, did serving as the assistant director of placement very dull and routine?

JM:  I felt that I had to start somewhere.  And the very fact that someone came after me, made an impression.  I didn't have to go out and sell myself to somebody else.  To know that he thought enough of me from his observations during the years when I was on campus.  That really made a big impression on me.  He was a nice person.

KP:  You joined the reserves and you were called for active duty for the Korean War.  You were still working for Rutgers at the time?

JM:  Yes, I was.

KP:  Why do you think you were called for active duty?

JM:  I was in the active reserves.  That's why they selected me.

KP:  Yes.  Well the only reason I asked that is that I know that some people were in the reserves, but were not called up.

JM:  I don't know how they do that.  The only thing that I could figure, they keep your records up-to-date when you're in the reserves.  They probably noticed that I had experience interviewing, personnel work, placement work, that kind of thing.  They ordered me to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, I interviewed and placed people they were calling back.

KP:  So you were not sent overseas for the Korean War?

JM:  No.  I almost went because while I was in Brooklyn, one day they came to me and said, "We have orders coming through for you to go to Japan."  I went home and told my wife.  "Boy," I said, "I just got a real dinger thrown at me today.  I may going to Japan."  Two or three days later they came to me and said, "The personnel bureau got you mixed up with another McCartney.  You're staying here."  [laughter]  I said, "Wonderful."

KP:  So you worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  Did you live in New Jersey?

JM:  I commuted.

KP:  From, where were you living?

JM:  From Plainfield. ... But I didn't keep that up.  It got to be too grueling.  So I would stay over there, they had officers quarters.  I'd stay there during the week and come home on weekends.  I served 23 months.  Half of that time I commuted, half I stayed there.

KP:  And so in many ways it was almost like a nine to five job, except you were in the navy.

JM:  Yes, it was.

KP:  And you were in charge of placing people.

JM:  I was in charge of calling them back, and getting their records straightened out, and setting them up for physicals, etc.  Processing them to go to an assignment, that's what it was.

KP:  Did you determine where they would go?

JM:  No.

KP:  This was really a station for them to pass through.

JM:  ... Just make sure they had all the proper credentials, that they met all the requirements, and if they were in the service before, make a check-up on the records then and what happened in their civilian life and so forth.  And so that you make sure they are ready to go on duty with a completed personnel file.

KP:  You had been in the reserves so that you'd never really left the navy, but now you are really in the navy full-time.  How do you sort of compare the navy of the Korean War and the navy of World War II?  What had changed and what had remained the same from your perspective?  Now admittedly you are not on board ship.

JM:  The fact that I was strictly on shore duty.  I did it.  I didn't like it as much as I did before, principally because I was married now and had a child.  And even though I was in Brooklyn, it was like an interruption.  During the war, I was on my own and I didn't have to worry about anything.  Not that this should worry me, but it was different, and I had a different outlook on it.  The duty was fine.  I can't complain.  If I had my druthers, I would have just been happy if they'd forgot me.  [laughter]

KP:  And they did not call you up?

JM:  Yes.

KP:  Did the Navy seem to run more efficiently in Korea, from your perspective in terms of personnel, or was it just classic people's orders got screwed up?

JM:  No.  I think they ran well.  I think they profited by the mistakes that were made, and, of course, they were made under tremendous circumstances during the war.  And then in peacetime you have a chance to give more thought and plan better.  I think they did a very good job.

KP:  So you would say that the Navy operated more efficiently in Korea then in World War II?

JM:  Well, not that much more.  I still think that this whole World War II operation was just a fantastic job that was done by this country.  When you can take someone who only went across the Hudson River on a ferryboat, and someone who had no naval knowledge, and you're going to take him and cram a lot of information into his head in three months and put him out on the high seas to defend a country.  And to be able to spew out all the ships they did, the Kaiser building of Liberty ships, build all these warships, train all these people.  It was a fantastic job.  I'm overwhelmed by the achievements.  It baffles me.  And it's something that was taken for granted too much.  It was a tremendous undertaking.

KP:  You had joined the VFW and you have lived in Plainfield all your life?

JM:  All but twelve years.

KP:  Except for when you were in the service?

JM:  I lived there until I graduated from Rutgers, at which time I went into the service.  When I came out, I got married and lived in Plainfield.  In 1971 I moved to Watchung.  Thirteen years later I moved to Piscataway.

KP:  Yes, you are in Piscataway now.  What changes have you seen in Plainfield over time?

JM:  It has gone down terribly.  The city is full of drugs.  I feel sorry for some of the blacks, because they don't want the trouble connected with crack and heroin.  They've petitioned the common council.  The police make raids periodically.  Plainfield was called the "Queen City" when I was a kid and it was.  It was a beautiful city.  It had [such] beautiful neighborhoods, Victorian architecture, etc.  A lot of the houses are boarded up.  It's just sad.  I feel very, very bad about it.

KP:  You joined the VFW Post in 1945.  Did you just assume you would join?  Did someone ask you to join?

JM:  My father did a lot of printing for them.  So he said, "Hey, you're out of the service now.  Why don't you join one of these organizations, American Legion, VFW, etc."  He said, "I'd like it if you'd, ... give some thought about applying to the VFW."  I said, "Okay."

--------------------END OF TAPE TWO, SIDE ONE-------------------

KP:  Before the tape cut off, you were talking about your VFW experiences.  Were you active in the Post otherwise?

JM:  I never became an officer or anything like that.  At the end of the war, there weren't many T.V. sets around, so I was interested sports and other things of that sort and I went down there to view ball games.

KP:  Because the VFW Post had one of the few television sets.

JM:  ... Yes that's right.

KP:  When did you get your first television?

JM:  My father got one early.  But me, it was three or four years after the war.

KP:  Oh, so it was still earlier than most, but you still waited a few years.

JM:  Yes.

KP:  It's one of the things that spurred you on to stay in the Post.

JM:  ... It was a good thing and the social activities they had for children, were noteworthy, I had an opportunity to speak with people who had been in the service.  You could go down and tell war stories, "Where were you?  How harrowing were your experiences?" etc.

KP:  You were not hesitant of talking about the war?  In other words a lot people I have talked to sort of said that they really didn't talk about the war very much, but for you the war was something you would talk about.

JM:  If I had tragic experiences, probably I wouldn't.  If a man is in the army and he sees someone's head blown off, and he witnesses a number of things like that, he doesn't want to talk about it.  But I was fortunate.  The only really bad problem I had was the weather, and a couple of incidents here and there in between.  But, the very fact that I came out unscathed, I probably could talk a little more readily than someone who had a harrowing experience. ...

KP:  Although there is one experience I forgot to ask you about, was that you did fall from one deck to another.

JM:  Yes, I did.

KP:  And you ended up in hospital.  When did that take place?

JM:  That was when I was on duty in the Atlantic.  I was off Newport when a storm blew up.  I had galoshes on, and they had flat bottoms.  I used to be able to ascend a ladder quickly, I also had a good handle on going down.  This particular time I fell down to the next deck.  And I dislocated my ankle.  At the time, I didn't know whether I broke it.  Crew members took me out and down to the Naval Air Station, to Quonset Point and delivered me to the operating room.  The surgeon came in and said, "I don't know, whether you broke your ankle or what."  But he said, "I can tell one way, but it is going to hurt."  He instructed me to "Grab a hold of the sides of the bed because I'm going to twist the ankle."  So he did.  It turned out that it was dislocated, so naturally it swelled up and it hurt for quite awhile.  I was in sick bay, they call it that, for maybe a week and a half.  I had do things gingerly after that.  I got orders to go to the Pacific about three months after that.  I really worried about slipping because you could twist it very easily.  I felt that they pushed me out too quickly, but that's the way it goes in the navy.

KP:  I asked about Plainfield earlier, but I wanted to learn about your involvement in Plainfield politics.

JM:  I ran for councilman.

KP:  And you lost by two votes.

JM:  I lost by two votes, but when the absentee votes were counted, I was down by sixteen.

KP:  Oh, okay.  [laughter]

JM:  I'll never forget that.  Because you see then I was a Democrat.  And Plainfield was predominately Republican.  Nobody gave me a chance.  But I really worked hard.  I covered at least 75-80 percent of every house in my district.  And I used to take my children with me, the oldest two.  That made an impression.  But I know that I fooled a lot of Republicans, it was a squeeker.  Everybody was stunned.  They figured I would get swamped.  I was stunned myself.

KP:  Oh, so you were not displeased that you came so close.

JM:  I feel a little bad that I got that close and didn't make it. ...

KP:  It sounded like you were very pleased that you had come that close, that you were this sacrificial Democrat who in a Republican town almost won.

JM:  Yes.

KP:  Were you active in the county organization?

JM:  No.

KP:  What prompted you to run for council?

JM:  I just felt that the council was too one sided.  There was only one Democrat on the council and there were about five Republicans.  I just didn't like the idea of railroading votes through without a contest.  Even if I'd got in, it probably wouldn't have made any difference because the vote would be five to two.  We still wouldn't have gotten anywhere.  But I'm a highly principled individual and I just felt that maybe I could at least throw a little fear in them and make them work a little harder for what they achieve-- that sort of thing. ... I couldn't complain too much about them, they ran the show fairly well.  But there were some cases where I think they overlooked certain actions that were good for the city.  I don't think they worked hard enough on lowering taxes.  Plainfield was a very affluent city at that time, and I think that they had a tendency to spend funds a little bit more than they should have.

KP:  Your family, your parents, but also your wife and you view the election of John F. Kennedy as an Irish Catholic?

JM:  Well, we admired him very much.  I didn't like him simply because he was Catholic.  He just seemed to have such an engaging personality.  The guy wowed me.  I didn't know anything at that time about Marilyn Monroe and the rest of the hanky panky.  I didn't know he was such a womanizer.  Nonetheless, I think he had a wonderful way of handling himself.  ... His speeches were so extemporaneous, and right to the point.  Being a young man, and having been a navy man, too impressed me.

KP:  Did the navy part appeal to you?

JM:  I think it had a little bearing, but as I said ...

KP:  Also Richard Nixon was a naval officer, or did the style also won you over?

JM:  I would say so.  I think that Jack Kennedy had just a wonderful way about him.  He appealed to me.  Every word seemed to flow so smooth from him, and he was young.  I'm sorry he died while he was in office.  I would loved to have known what he would have done, one way or the other.  I think that he really pulled a bluff that time when Cuba put up a bold front, and Khrushchev was banging on tables.  We were lucky that Russia backed off.  There's no telling what would have happened, I just liked the way he ran his office.  He did a good job as a senator, too.

KP:  When did you become disenchanted with the Democratic party?

JM:  Disenchanted?

KP:  Yes, when did it happen?

JM:  I think when they started to become too liberal.  When they started to appropriate exces funds for welfare, too many abuses in welfare programs.

KP:  Is there any election that you remember that you sort of cast aside your loyalties to the party?  You had very active locally, you had run as a Democrat.

JM:  That's right.  I voted primarily Republican.  ... I voted Democratic for Kennedy and then did I vote anymore Democrat?  No, I don't think so.  I may not have voted for Eisenhower, I'm not sure.  But I voted for Reagan and for Bush.

KP:  Humphrey?

JM:  No. I didn't vote for Humphrey.

KP:  For Lyndon Johnson?  Is that the last Democrat you voted for on the presidential level?

JM:  No.  I don't think I even voted for him.  I must have broken off after Kennedy.

KP:  Oh, really?  So you did not vote for Johnson.

JM:  I must have ...

KP:  Did you vote for Barry Goldwater?

JM:  Yes.  And boy did he get thumped.  Oh, I was shocked with that one.  I thought that he would do better than he did. [laughter]

KP:  Now going back to your career, after you left the navy, did you return to Rutgers or did you go to Muhlenberg Hospital?

JM:  I went back to Rutgers very briefly.  And a friend of mine called me and told me that there was a need for someone in personnel there and he suggested I contact a certain person, which I did.  And I hit it off very well with the assistant director and so I went back to Mr. Kirkwood and I explained to him that this was a step-up for me and it would give me a chance to broaden my personnel experience.  So I left and went to the hospital.

KP:  I have read some of the releases on the hospital.  What was the work like in the hospital?  How did you compare with your experiences at Rutgers or in the Navy?

JM:  It was broader.  It gave me an introduction to public relations.  I did all the hiring for the hospital, including the nurses which is an unusual thing.  Normally the directors of nursing hires the nurses.

KP:  Does the hiring.

JM:  Nurses don't like anybody else to select staff members.  And I had to do quite a selling job in order to do the hiring.  I had fairly good success in the beginning, but a new director of nursing who was very authoritative relieved me of that duty.  She convinced the director of the hospital that she should have sole responsibility.  That didn't bother me very much.  I continued to hire the nurses aides and the practical nurses.  All nursing personnel except R.N's.  I hired the porters, the housekeeping people, the dietitians, etc.

KP:  What led you to leave the hospital?

JM:  Money.  The chance to get into industry.  Continually trying to broaden yourself within the field of industrial relations, and  personnel.

KP:  And you worked for Lockheed Electronics.

JM:  Yes.  I was there thirteen years.

KP:  And what was your entry job at Lockheed.  What did you do?

JM:  I took over control of the general employment.  My colleague handled the engineers, physicists, and other scientists.

KP:  So, you hired secretaries and support personnel.

JM:  That's right.  I hired sheet metal men, machinists, production control people, typists, statistical people -- everything except the college level type of person.

KP:  How many people were you responsible for?  How big was your initial plant?

JM:  I had [a] boss who had three of us under him.  And two of those under him handled the engineers.  They had two people doing that level of hiring, because the company required many technical.  They'd go out and visit and set up headquarters in hotels, place ads and interview prospects.  I helped them ocasionally.   But most time interviewed locally.  When the other two men got a heavy workload and they were going to interview many people, then I would also join them interviewing engineers, physicists, chemists, etc.

KP:  What struck you about working at Lockheed?  You had worked a college and public hospital and then you were at Lockheed Electronics.  What struck you about the business cultures of these three institutions?  Did you have hard time making the transition between them?

JM:  I don't know.  I guess the fact that you are always striving to better yourself and go higher, you seek new pastures.  It was more of a challenge to me going into industry.  It was electrifying.  The faster pace intrigued me.  You never knew from one day to the next what you are going to be involved in.  Whereas in the hospital the routine was the same.  The atmosphere was depressing at times.

KP:  You knew your weekly schedule.

JM:  And nobody would be interfering with me.  But again, it got to be too pat.

KP:  So your days and weeks at Lockheed would be more varied?

JM:  Oh, yes.  Very varied.  And different intensities too. When a new contract with the navy appeared all of a sudden, we were putting on a lot of technicians and classifications of that sort.  So you'd have to step up the pace.  It was fast moving and changeable.

KP:  What was your career progression at Lockheed?  Did you remain in personnel and industrial relations at Lockheed?

JM:  Yes.  The whole time.  Unfortunately, my boss was very competent and very much in with the top echelon, so I made no progression beyond what I was when I joined Lockheed.  So that wrankled me a little bit.  That's why I decided to take the museum job.  It was very interesting.  I can't say it wasn't.  I think it's more interesting from the viewpoint of the person who goes there.  After a while when you're accustomed to a faster pace and ever changing situations, you get bored.  It's so quiet, you lose your zip.  It's a great place for research personnel, and the curators.  They gain great esteem and recognition.  And they go on for advanced work.  Fine, but a personnel man in that environment, ... it wasn't fast enough for me.  It was too quiet. 
Also the travel-- getting on the train, those lousy subways over there.  And I'll tell you it was a little precarious, too.  Because one time, when I went home after work hours one night, this young black kid, he was about eighteen was sitting on a bench with his feet out over two other chairs.  I didn't say anything to him. I hung onto my strap and I kept looking at him.  And after a while he says, "What you lookin' at, man?"  I mean, he looked like he was all set to, maybe if he had chance to, put a little knife in my back.  But I learned then never to stare like that, because you can't tell what they are going to do.

So I figured it was too much of a rat race.  In summertime it was exceedingly hot down in those subways.  Traveling back and forth got to be a drag.  Get up early.  Come home late.  So I said, "I've gotta do something else."

KP:  And as you recounted you entered the printing business your wife set up.

JM:  Yes.  Right.  We were going to join each other and do these theses, but then along came the oldest boy and he, thank God, got us gradually weaned from theses into commercial printing.

KP:  Your children, none of them have entered the military.

JM:  No, but they were in the draft.  They were just lucky their numbers weren't selected.

KP:  So they all had numbers.

JM:  Yes.  The oldest one got out of the University of Miami when he was twenty, 21, and got married immediately.  He got out in '71.  I forget now, when did the war end over there?

KP:  1975, really 1973 for Americans.

JM:  So that would have kept him out anyway.  But the other one was four years behind him.  He just was lucky.  If he had the right number, he would have been gone.

KP:  How did you feel about your sons, possibly fighting in Vietnam?

JM:  Well, in the very beginning, I still had memories of my own experiences and my patriotism and so forth.  At that time, I think all of us had more patriotism.  However, after I had an opportunity to look into this Vietnam thing, I got to see and realize that it was a terrible war, because we didn't want to win that war.  We had a lot of opportunities, we got up to a certain line and stopped.  To me, if you go into a war you are going to go in all the way, and the fact that they didn't do that, I think was terrible.  You sacrifice the lives of a lot of young men, no question about it.  I was very disappointed with the way that war was run.  That was a hurky, jerky thing.

KP:  So you did not want your sons to go fight in Vietnam.

JM:  I didn't have a strong feeling, but I didn't ...

KP:  You did not encourage them to enlist, is that right?

JM:  No.  I wouldn't want them to enlist, but if their number was picked, then just like the rest of the kids, they would have to serve.  I wasn't in favor of them going into the service.

KP:  Well, did I forget anything?

JM:  No.  I don't think you've missed a trick.  You're very good.

KP:  Thank you very much.

----------------------------END OF INTERVIEW-------------------- 

Reviewed:  2/97     Jennifer Lenkiewicz 
Reviewed:  2/28/97  G. Kurt Piehler 
Edited:    3/3/97   Tara Kraenzlin 
Entered:   3/4/97   G. Kurt Piehler 
Corrected: 6/10/97  Melanie Cooper 
Reviewed:  8/4/97   Kurt Piehler


Rutgers Oral History Archives

A Rutgers History Department Affliated Center 

This website and all content

Copyright © 2016 ROHA


Contact Us

Rutgers Academic Building
15 Seminary Place
West Wing, Room 6105

New Brunswick, NJ 08901

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.